Q&A with School Nurse Melissa Eldridge


By Natalie Clare

  1. Why are vaccinations important?
    1. Vaccinations are important because they keep us from getting sick.  The diseases that we have vaccinations for can ultimately kill people. They’re deadly and fatal and very contagious. They can spread and wipe out certain groups of people. Vaccinations are important ultimately to keep our population going, to keep the human race going.
  2. Do you believe vaccinations are necessary? Why or why not?
    1. I do. I’m definitely for vaccinations. I understand that some people have allergies or medical conditions where it’s not supportive that they have vaccines. I understand religious objections, those are very personal and individualized. But, I think if you are physically able to get vaccinated and it doesn’t go strongly against your beliefs, then I believe everybody should get vaccinated. In the long run, that’s what is keeping people healthy and at their optimum level.
  3. Why are students required to get vaccinations in order to come to school?
    1. Currently, there is a mumps outbreak and meningitis is coming back. They said on the news this morning that Indiana University of Bloomington has a mumps outbreak. Because we are all in such close quarters, you have to think that they are almost 2000 people in this building that are coming in contact every single day. Things spread very easily in this environment because we are all very close. Same thing with colleges, you’ve got dorms and other close quarters. So, if one person were to get a contagious disease, it’s going to be no time at all and the majority of us are probably going to have because we come in contact one way or another. If it’s not direct contact, it’s airborne or continental contact, like touching the same desks and door knobs.
  4. Can parents request to not have their child vaccinated? How? Why?
    1. Absolutely. Parents can fill out regions objection forms or they can go to a doctor and get a medical objection form. If it is against their beliefs or they have some type of medical reason that they can’t get a vaccine. They always have the option to object. But, according to our school policy, if we were to have an outbreak of something and a student wasn’t vaccinated, we would have the right to exclude them. More than anything, for their safety. It’s kind of a risk if you choose to not be vaccinated. Be aware of the risks that your are putting yourself at a chance at getting a contagious disease. Although, chicken pox isn’t necessarily a deadly disease, but you have more serious diseases like polio or meningitis.
  5. Can you really become sick by getting vaccinated? Or is that just a myth?
    1. I think it depends. I know that there are a lot of people that are anti-vaccine and talk about how they increase your risk for autism or other things. There is a small chance. You occasionally hear of somebody having an adverse reaction to a vaccine, especially if it’s a live vaccine. Which is where they do inject a small amount of the virus in you. But again, they take precautions. They always take precautions when giving vaccines, like if you’ve been sick or have recently had the flu, you’re doctor should say that this is not the right time to get a vaccine because you might be putting yourself at risk for getting sick. It’s very rare for someone to get sick after having a vaccine or contracting autism. I’ve never seen a huge amount of evidence to say that vaccines cause this, this, and this. Vaccines are here to prevent, not to cause other things. People talk about getting sick after having a vaccine, or contracting something. This is rare, it’s the exception not the rule.
  6. Are there any vaccinations that aren’t required but recommended?
    1. Right now, the CDC has recommended meningitis B, which protects against another strand of meningitis. You’re required to have your two meningitis vaccines. Because you have all of these kids that are going off to college, their going to new environments, they’re living in dorm rooms, and in close contact, you’re putting yourself at a greater risk at picking up a communicable disease. So Men. B is recommended and HPV is recommended based on research.
  7. Will the school be having a vaccination clinic? When? Where?
    1. Our vaccination clinic is Tuesday, April 23rd. It’s offered to juniors becoming seniors. This gives them an opportunity to get up to date on the required vaccines for their senior year, like the second dose of meningitis and the two Hep. A vaccines.

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