Immunizations: What students should know

By Amanda Quilling 

Health Awareness Columnist

With media highlighting the current outbreaks of diseases like Ebola and measles, it’s essential that college students educate themselves on vaccines and how these fit into their lives.

 

While this topic is a sensitive one, it’s important to address the difference in opinions and to recognize where science itself stands on the issue, not just focus on the information found on social media.

One of the largest concerns students have about vaccines is their safety. Currently, the United States has the safest supply of vaccines in the world and all vaccines are tested prior to FDA licensing. Most vaccines take up to ten years before being approved and continually monitored, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

The most controversial conversation regarding vaccines is their alleged correlation with autism. The CDC continues to support a review done by the Institute of Medicine, which concludes, “there is no relationship between vaccines and autism rates in children.”

 

While this topic is recurrent in media, the science community continues to stand by the fact that there is no vaccine safety debate and the implementation of vaccines is as prevalent as ever.

 

Another large concern for college students is the availability and cost of vaccines. For students at CSUSM, the Health and Counseling Services Center (HCSC) collaborates with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Department to ensure that students have access to affordable vaccines in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

 

Students can call and make an appointment at the new HCSC for a simple flu shot or other immunizations. Other immunizations include the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, Hepatitis B and Meningitis vaccine, all of which are offered for a reduced fee to students.

 

Locally, students at Carlsbad High School have made an effort to educate the public about vaccines in their film Invisible Threat. This documentary addresses the significance of vaccines and is supported by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and was shown at the American Public Health Association Film Festival. In an interview with Lisa Posard, producer of Invisible Threat, she stressed the importance of students obtaining credible information about immunizations and understanding that choices towards vaccines affect an entire community.

 

In all, choosing to receive a vaccine is an individual choice. However, seeking scholarly and peer reviewed information is vital in assessing how vaccines fit into an individual’s lifestyle. By receiving proper education about vaccination, we will all be able to lead the healthy life we desire.

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California