If you haven’t been following along, we have been reporting on the mumps outbreak that is occurring in Northwest Arkansas. There is now a total of 150 infected students and the outlook for stopping the spread looks bleak. Based on other outbreaks, this outbreak could theoretically last the entire school year and at minimum 6 months. Keep in mind, the only students being sent home are the unvaccinated, even though none have tested positive for mumps. This outbreak is only affecting the vaccinated, causing some to wonder if it is something to do with the MMR vaccine itself.
Students have been forced home, shamed and ridiculed, and deprived of their education. Finally state legislators are taking notice and attempting to come to some sort of compromise to not punish the healthy students.
Legislators are receiving stories of the school district bullying and threatening children over their immunization status:
State Rep Micah Neal said he heard from one parent who felt “bullied” into getting the immunizations for her children. Without the vaccines, he said, one of them wouldn’t be able to play in the school band, and another one wouldn’t be able to participate in the school play.
“Something needs to be done to make sure these kids have an adequate education,” Neal said. “I don’t believe sending them home for four to six months is going to give them an adequate education.”
Rep. Michelle Gray, R-Melbourne, said the Health Department appears to be using the threat of removal from school during the outbreak as a “scare tactic” to have parents immunize their children.
Schools should make an option available for children to attend school together, separated from other students, she said.
Forcing students to take the shot to be able to immediately return to school is part of the problem. Along with the vaccine being ineffective to this possibly new strain of mumps, even the manufacturer says the vaccine won’t take effect for 2 weeks and yet students are returned to the classroom and all functions immediately.