Kindergartener Blocked from Attending School over Refusal of Chicken Pox Vaccine
A New York City kindergartener is being blocked from attending school because of the chicken pox - and she does not even have the disease.
According to NBC New York, FrankieElizabeth Straiti is five years old and due for the varicella vaccine. However, FrankieElizabeth has a 14-week-old sister, and her pediatrician refuses to administer the vaccine in a home with an infant in the house because the vaccine contains a small live portion of the virus. In addition, mother Elizabeth Wagner has an immunological disease called hypogammaglobulinemia, which would weaken even further the baby's immune system against the disease. Unfortunately, there is no way to test the baby of the condition until the age of one.
FrankieElizabeth's mother sought an exemption from the requirement, accompanied by an explanation from the kindergartner's daughter. After a thorough investigation by the city's Board of Education, the request was denied. She can appeal the decision, but Ms. Wagner says that she was never informed of that possibility.
"This has been a complete nightmare," Ms. Wagner said to the Staten Island Advance. "Obviously, if there are some doctors that don't believe in giving it with a newborn sibling in the home, or any newborn in the house, or a pregnant woman, obviously there's a reason for that...I don't care if it's a 1 in 3 million chance. What happens if my baby is the 1 in 3 million?"
Wagner says that she has spoken to many doctors. Some believe in avoiding the vaccine if there is a baby in the house; others do not. According to ABC News, withholding the vaccine is a bad idea and the doctor, who has not been named, has not performed good medicine. ABC News' chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said, "You vaccinate the people around a baby because the baby doesn't have its own protection," he said, adding that the chicken pox vaccine uses a mild form of the virus to safely provoke a lasting immune response. "It would be much more dangerous for the older sibling to be unvaccinated and get real chicken pox."
In the meantime, the family is making arrangements for FrankieElizabeth to be homeschooled. Right now, the school marks FrankieElizabeth as absent - an extra blow for the family and the girl, who says that she misses her four best friends.