Parents of the Ripon School District’s 1,800 students last week received letters and forms seeking consent to have their children immunized for the H1N1 Flu.

At first glance this seems like a no-brainer. Certainly 100 percent of the forms will be returned by this Friday’s deadline, right?

Who wants their children to be miserable when a poke in the arm or a spray in the nose can spare them a fever, cough, sore throat, body and head aches, chills, fatigue or runny nose?

Not so fast. It’s because no one wants his child to risk illness that many district residents likely will not consent to the vaccination, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 10. They believe the risks of injesting the virus — dead in the shot or alive in the mist — outweigh the risks of contracting H1N1 ...

But here’s the bottom line.

Whether a child should be vaccinated is an individual decision — with universal implications. We get vaccinated to help ourselves but also to minimize the risk of contracting H1N1 and then transmitting the virus to others.

Public-health officials and trained medical professionals generally are encouraging us to get the shot (or the mist).

Absent faith in their counsel or concern that we are morally obligated to help protect those with whom we come in contact, people worried about possible side effects for their children should consult their physician, public health nurse or other professional credentialed to offer medical advice ...

Editor’s note: Tim Lyke’s wife is the Ripon School District nurse and is a co-signer of a letter requesting parents who want their children to receive the H1N1 vaccination to sign a consent form.

For the entire editorial, turn to page 4 of the Oct. 22 issue of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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