Immunizations for various diseases are still advisable, according to nurse Jean Lucht.

Meadow Valley Pharmacy and the public health nurse have their supplies of vaccines, and Lucht encourages everyone to go in and get their immunizations. “Please make me happy,” she said, “We don’t want outbreaks of the flu.”

Lucht commented at the commissioners meeting, “It is amazing to me that “many parents do not immunize their children.” She said she even heard one mother say that she was “going to have a chickenpox party. I have not heard that in at least 10 years.”

She continued, “People just are not using good sense. Mainly because we have been so good at immunizing that they have not had the opportunity to see what diphtheria, pertussis, smallpox, chickenpox, etc., really looks like. If they could just see a few cases of that, maybe it would make them immunize, but you just can’t force people. The best thing we can do, is protect as many as we possibly can and be aware of the ones who are not immunized.”

Lucht said she is also now the school nurse for the Lincoln County School District, “and this makes me even more aware of how many children are going to school without vaccines. Some parents have even told me they don’t immunize their children because they consider it poison.” And she admitted, “some pharmaceutical companies have not been real good about telling us what’s in the vaccines.”

Commissioner Paul Donohue commented that in his thinking part of the reluctance of some people to have immunizations is the controversy with Autism.

The MMR vaccine controversy started with the 1998 publication of a fraudulent research paper in the medical journal The Lancet that lent support to the later discredited claim that colitis and autism spectrum disorders are linked to the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The paper was fully retracted in 2010.

The reason for increased cases of autism Lucht believes, “is not because of vaccines, but rather because we have gotten so much better at screening. We screen much younger than we used to. Often as young as a year, definitely by age 3.”

Lucht said the Nevada Revised Statutes do strongly recommend children have the immunizations, “but at the bottom line it still reads the decision is with the parents. It’s still the parent’s choice.”

She also recommended any person who has had chickenpox, in particular anyone over age 60, to get the Shingles vaccine. And the disease of polio is still in the world, she noted. A total global eradication of polio has never yet occurred. “Several third world countries still have problems with it,” she said.