Staff Editorial: Give it your best shot

Modern medicine is a wonder of science. Diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella were previously thought to be a risk to humanity as a whole if a large outbreak occurred. Now they have been all but eradicated due to advancements in vaccinations. These vaccinations have been scientifically proven to be extremely effective in preventing their target disease, and that is why institutions like RPI require students to have received them except in very special cases.

Specifically, RPI requires students to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis, and tetanus. The only way to attend the Institute without these vaccines is to submit a waiver explaining a legitimate medical or religious reason. RPI also strongly recommends, but does not require, students to receive vaccines for polio, chicken pox, hepatitis A and B, and human papilomavirus. These are not required due to various reasons like near-full disease eradication and possible side effects. But the required vaccines are required for a reason: they are known to be solely beneficial except in rare medical cases, and the diseases they prevent are a very real threat to human life.

The recent confirmed case of measles here on campus has brought new attention to vaccinations for students. There is no need to raise alarm, as you wouldn’t be here or would have to know about it if you were not vaccinated. The Institute reports that only 15 currently registered students have an approved vaccination waiver.

But even with the knowledge that more than 99 percent of students are vaccinated, we must all take caution as medical experts report that being vaccinated does not make your immunity to a disease 100 percent. That being said, you are far less likely to contract the disease than someone who has not received a vaccination. This means that anyone who is not vaccinated is not only in danger of getting the disease themselves, but could also spread it to others—whether those people are vaccinated or not.

Check with your friends and family—whether on campus or at home—and make sure they have received all important vaccinations that don’t pose an additional health risk or issue. These people may not have been in an environment that required it or may have even been born before the vaccine was widely used.