Dear Editor,

As a family physician, I would like to address the important issue of vaccinating children in our public school system.

As a native Oklahoman, I’m very much for the right of individuals to make decisions for themselves and their families. However, every society has rules to prevent harm to other members, such as requiring a driver’s license, rules for sanitation and how to properly prepare food in restaurants, as just a few examples.

If an unimmunized child goes to a public school, then this puts other children and families at increased risk — even if your child is immunized. Diphtheria has a 50% death rate in unimmunized children. There have been almost 700 cases of measles in the U.S. this year. The risks are real — not theoretical.

Please join me in supporting state Sen. Greg McCortney’s bill that calls for important data collection that gives parents the ability to identify school campuses where their children are at least risk from outbreaks. Additionally, please check with the Centers for Disease Control to ensure your families are properly vaccinated against preventable diseases — and talk to your doctor or health care practitioner about steps you can take to keep your family safe.

We’ll all in this together.

Dr. James Wight, Ada.