David Haydon" />
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Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Vaccine law is an unnecessary burden

Prepare yourself for the latest money making scheme to come out of the Texas legislature — immunization requirements.This is not the mandatory HPV vaccine from 2006. Instead, the latest state mandate is the meningococcal vaccine, officially known as the Jamie Schanbaum and Nicolis Williams Act.

Governor Rick Perry signed the act into law in May. It will take effect on Jan. 1, 2011. It requires all college students less than 30 years of age to receive the vaccine before entering college. Previous to this law, the state mandated that only students living on college campuses be vaccinated.

Students are still able to opt out of the vaccine for various reasons, just as they were able to do previously. As a result, this newer version of the law is simply a waste of time and money.

The name of the law references two students, who contracted meningitis. Schanbaum, survived the disease in 2008, but suffered multiple amputations, and Williams died from the disease earlier this year.

The families of these students are mostly to thank for the far-reaching, overbearing and dubious newly forced vaccination mandate. Granted, it’s a tragedy for both the students and their loved ones, but facts are facts.

And the fact is, meningitis is extremely rare. Of the 130 college students who contract the disease a year, the death rate remains at 15 percent. With all the hoopla about the dangers of meningitis, people would assume it is some kind of epidemic.

Consider that of the millions of college students that live on and off campuses all across the country, a little over a hundred contract the disease, and only a small percentage of those students die from it.

Why Perry won’t protect students from the real dangers is a mystery. Where is the law against credit card sharks preying on students, or arbitrarily high textbook costs?

No doubt, Perry touts the importance of protecting young Texan students, but in reality this is nothing more than a publicity stunt for the governor. If these politicians were really interested in protecting students, they would protect us from real threats. Instead, they are simply making sure that students are healthy enough to work, pay bills and file taxes.

This is not the first time that Perry has signed a mandatory vaccine into law. In 2006, the HPV vaccine was signed by Perry as an executive mandate that all Texas public school girls be vaccinated in order to protect them from cervical cancer.

The mandate was met with heavy criticism and contempt. Aside from the fact that Merck, the manufacturer of the vaccine, gave Perry a $6,000 campaign contribution, Merck’s lobbyist Mike Toomey was Perry’s former Chief of Staff. It doesn’t require a college degree to connect the dots.

And in the case of the meningitis mandate, the reaction should be no different: contempt and rejection. Yet, thus far, there has been no major negative opinion surrounding the law, even though there should be overwhelming criticism.

It’s not only a violation of personal choice to have a “mandatory” vaccine pushed on a certain demographic, it’s fiscally irresponsible. These vaccines are not for free. Even opting out can cost time and money.

For students who decide that an extremely unlikely disease is too dangerous, this will merely add another hundred dollars to your list of college expenses.

David Haydon is a Political Science junior and may be reached at [email protected].

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