Irate with immunization rates


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We are extremely fortunate to be living in 2017; at least from a healthcare perspective. We are living our healthiest, longest lives, with the most treatments and medications to combat and cure the most diseases. We’re at a point where we can prevent and eradicate disease that once plagued us just decades ago through vaccinations. So why would parents not take advantage of these opportunities?

Vaccinations are one of medicine’s greatest accomplishments. They reduce and prevent diseases like pertussis, measles, mumps and rubella. By injecting a dead or weakened part of a virus into the bloodstream, the immune system is able to produce antibodies and protect itself should the body encounter the full-fledged virus. The first primitive vaccination was formulated in the 1790s to fight against smallpox. Today, smallpox is totally eradicated from the modern world.

Yet more and more parents are choosing not to have their children vaccinated. Vaccines have been proven to be one of the most effective methods of preventing disease; the only better way is actually contracting and fending off the illness. Parents worry about the exposure to mercury and other harmful ingredients their children face with most common vaccinations. Yes, these chemicals can cause severe health problems- but not in the negligible quantities they are given in vaccinations, a concept overlooked by many.

The grand crusade of the anti-vaxxers is fueled by Andrew Wakefield’s research- a physician whose publication in the Lancet showed significant links with vaccinations and autism in children, according to the Lancet. His work, faulty and fraudulent as it may be, is still the basis of vaccination misconceptions. Wakefield’s work has been disproved dozens of times; he has not been allowed to practice medicine since 2010. Yet the damage had been done, as evidenced by the millions of unvaccinated children.

The danger does not lie in the one or two individuals per community who are not vaccinated. Some may have immunosuppressive disorders, or have religious restrictions. That’s okay- due to mass immunity, as everyone who has the capability to be vaccinated theoretically would be, so disease has nowhere to spread. Yet in reality, less children are receiving immunizations, and diseases can work their way back into our lives. This is scary- diseases like whooping cough and polio we thought were gone are resurfacing, according to the CDC. Both of these illnesses are fatal, but worse yet, both could mutate so that even those were vaccinated may succumb.

Schools should require their students to be vaccinated. Employers should require their employees to be vaccinated. For the good of the not just the school or the company, but for the population as a whole, the basic vaccinations should be required in childhood as a preventative measure to stop disease, and keep our world moving forward.

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