Why you should be Vaccinated

Irresponsible, Ill-Informed, or just Stupid?

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Why you should be Vaccinated

Aurora Stanley

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Parents choosing or neglecting to vaccinate their children is a health risk, not only for their children, but for youth who are too young to be vaccinated, and threatens what is commonly known as “herd immunity” thus allowing once extinct diseases return. All children should be vaccinated, to protect themselves, as well as others. Anything else is not only ill-informed, but also irresponsible and dangerous.

There are three main reasons parents do not vaccinate, one is that they simply forget or are to busy, others choose not to for religious reasons, but the main reasoning is that they are fearful for their child’s safety and health. And that is understandable, we hear that a child could get autism from a shot and a small alarm in our heads go off, we ignore the possibilities of polio, or typhoid, or hepatitis, or the flu.

But this is unfounded, for safety reasons at least. In the article The History of Vaccines published by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia it is explained that in 1998 gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, MD published findings in The Lancet that he said suggested a connection between autism and the MMR vaccine. The reaction to this was immediate as parents were terrified for their children. But then in 2004 the then editor of The Lancet revealed that Wakefield had admitted to being paid by attorneys who wanted to file lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers to falsify his findings. Soon after this Wakefield was stripped of his medical degree. He had claimed that in the experiment he vaccinated 12 children who prior to the test had no developmental delays and that after the experiment they all showed prominent signs of autism, it was soon discovered though that of the 12 kids who took part in the test, two had developmental delays prior to the test, and that they were the only ones with delays afterwards.

This is the only study to claim the connection, and though this study was falsified, the idea has stuck in the heads of Americans to this day. We are subject to media hype that promotes these claims without anything to hold them up other than sheer stubbornness and ignorance.

Discrediting religious reasons is a bit more tricky. Many believe that their child will be protected by their God, or that what is meant to be will be and that they must have faith in God’s plan. And for this I cannot pull out any trump card study, and I will not go on an atheist rant trying to discredit or disprove God. So while I personally disagree with the concept of a deity I will say this – we live in a beautiful and ever growing world filled with new technology and innovation. Many who believe in God believe that he has a Divine Plan, one that will guide humanity and which covers everything. They pray that their child be cured of a disease, or that their child will not get one. And I want to suggest that maybe, these doctors and scientists and vaccinations are God’s response to these prayers, and that by refusing to vaccinate your child you are dismissing his answer.

Either way when children go unvaccinated they are a threat to others. We saw this recently in the measles outbreak where one unvaccinated vector inadvertently infected others who were unvaccinated. And we are seeing this again, with Typhoid and Tuberculosis (medieval and thought to be extinct diseases) breaking out in California’s homeless populations, many of which do not have access to vaccines. When everyone is vaccinated we have what is called herd immunity, everyone is safe. But some parents figure that if just their child is unvaccinated then they cannot contract the disease because no one else has it, ignoring that the disease can be carried by animals and via air. But in reality it is similar to having a herd of sheep protected by a fence, but then one part of the fence breaks and continuing to pretend that the sheep are safe.

An example of this fence being broke was seen when Jennifer Hibben-White took her 15 week old son to a regular doctor appointment. But upon returning home receiving a call from the hospital telling her that soon before she arrived a man diagnosed with measles was in the same waiting room as her and her son, and that her son could be infected as measles is an airborne disease that can remain in the air and on surfaces for two hours. There was absolutely nothing she could have done about the exposure. Children are not able to be fully vaccinated against measles until they are at least five years old, and she was being a responsible parent taking her son to a doctor appointment. When she and her possibly infected son went home to her two year old daughter, her daughter could have been exposed as well.

Now think about what would have happened if she was not home yet when the hospital called. And she took her children to daycare, or a playdate. That is why we need herd immunity.

At the end of the day vaccines are safe. Even if there was a risk of autism I would much rather risk the slight chance of my child having autism and living over them getting polio or measles and dying or suffering from painful lifelong effects. Vaccines are amazing inventions of modern science, and they are so important for the health of our population. It is dangerous and uneducated to not have vaccinated children.

So if your not vaccinated make an appointment, go to a local free clinic, or if you don’t believe me and my hedonistic views, go research it for yourself. But don’t put your own life, or your children’s life, or anyone else’s at risk because you couldn’t be bothered to do research, or take the time out of your day to get a shot.