Disney Cruise Line will require all kids under 6 to be fully vaccinated against enterovirus

Less than five months after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rescinded a long-standing stance that children under 5 should not be vaccinated for enterovirus, Disney Cruise Line announced on Monday that it will also begin requiring all passengers 6 and older to be fully vaccinated against the contagious respiratory disease. The policy change is already in effect on the Disney Wonder, and will take effect on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder on May 28.

As its announcement notes, the cruise line “will continue to provide guests who would like to opt-out of the vaccine with an option to cancel the cruise for financial reimbursement or donate their unused cruise fare to a local charity.”

The company is also creating “alternative on-board health care,” including consultations with local healthcare professionals, and a hotline with answers to all guests’ frequently asked questions about vaccinations.

“As guests consider the benefits and costs of vaccines, we want to provide clear and accurate information, including what’s recommended by the CDC,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Disney Cruise Line, in a statement. “Our goal is to provide a more comfortable and knowledgeable vacation experience to every guest.”

The U.S. government and large pediatric associations like the American Academy of Pediatrics are recommending that all vaccines against enterovirus should be required for children, especially those against the highly contagious family members of enterovirus, including measles, mumps and rubella.

For children under the age of 5, many vaccination experts say there are few studies to suggest it is necessary for the vast majority of children to be inoculated against enterovirus. Some researchers have reached a similar conclusion for mumps-vaccinated children. A growing chorus of pediatricians is beginning to say that when a child is less than 5 years old, it is unnecessary for that child to be inoculated against a relatively common viral disease.

As we noted earlier this month, there has been a big rise in the number of confirmed cases of enterovirus in the U.S. In 2016, federal authorities reported 49 cases of enterovirus, most of which involved people experiencing temporary respiratory problems — exactly what conditions encountered by cruise passengers. This year, so far there have been at least 288 confirmed cases of enterovirus. The vast majority of those cases are in children.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.

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