Marin Family Whose Leukemic Child Can't Vaccinate Asks School To Require Immunization
TIBURON (KPIX 5) -- After years of fighting leukemia, every moment six-year-old Rhett Krawitt is healthy is treasured. But his immune system can't handle a measles vaccine. He's relying on all his schoolmates at Reed Elementary in Tiburon to get immunized to keep him from contracting measles.
"Let's not have a sick kid at Reed," Rhett's father Carl Krawitt said. "Let's immunize our children."
But Marin County has the highest opt out rate for immunization in the Bay Area, and one of the highest in the state.
At Reed, 7 percent of the children opt out of vaccines. It's about half that for measles, meaning 19 children at Reed School aren't vaccinated.
"I actually am concerned," Rhett's mother Susan Cox said. "I had no idea Reed had such an anti-vax movement here."
Concern for one parent is near panic for another who has a compromised immune system.
"Children are infectious up to four days before they develop symptoms, so we want to make sure that protection is built in," Marin County Health Officer Matt Willis said.
Rhett's father is suggesting kids immunized and school districts ban all unvaccinated children, except those with medical exemptions.
"I think every child in a public school needs to be vaccinated from those kind of diseases or they shouldn't be allowed to go to the school," Cox said.
"It's a personal decision, I understand but you have to look at the greater good as well," said mother Amanda Stephens.
If there's a case of measles at Reed, all unvaccinated children, including Rhett, will be sent home for 21 days. Rhett's dad believes there's more to this.
"Measles, mumps, rubella, polio chicken pox they are gone," Carl said. "Let's not waste our time on those things. Let's cure cancer."
The health department and the school district are seeing an increasing number of parents vaccinating their children. And they expect that to increase because as of Jan. 1, parents are required to talk to their doctors before opting out of the immunization schedule.
The school district has experience with children who can't come to school because of compromised immune systems. Last year during the flu season, one child went to school via Skype.
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