Pro-Vax group holds first meeting of the year

The recently founded group aims to educate and encourage vaccination.

MU’s Pro-Vax Club held its first meeting of the year last Thursday in the Medical Science Building.

As a relatively new organization that was created last semester, the Pro-Vax Club seeks to educate the general public regarding the safety and importance of vaccines, as well as encourage people to get vaccinated.

“It was in my microbiology class that I realized how important vaccines were,” Chloë Fischer said, a pre-nursing student at MU and president of the group. “Especially my professor [Dr. Jason Furrer], who’s very passionate about them, kind of translated that passion to me.”

The group cites the re-emergence of preventable diseases such as measles as a motivator for the foundation of the group. Measles was declared eliminated in 2000, but has seen a sharp increase of confirmed cases in recent years. As of Sept. 12, there are 1,241 confirmed cases in 2019 compared to 372 confirmed cases in all of 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As for why these preventable diseases are on the rise, a recent increase in anti-vaccine sentiment is often cited.

“A lot of this is just making sure that people are educated so they can make this choice for themselves,” Fischer said.

Among the group’s organizational staff is Dr. Jason Furrer, an associate teaching professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at MU and the faculty sponsor of the group.

“This is part of my science,” Furrer said. “With microbiology, we are heavily involved in preventing infection because there’s a lot of stuff that we can’t stop once it gets going.”

The group plans to promote and assist the MU Student Health Center in hosting several free influenza vaccination events around campus, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 16, Oct. 23, Nov. 6 and Nov. 13.

“If you’re questioning vaccines, if you’re on the edge and not sure where you’re at, come talk to us,” Regan O’Connor, vice president of the group, said. “We have a page on the MU Engage, so reach out to us through there and we’ll get back to you on answering any questions that you have.”

Edited by Ben Scott |

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