Since 1000 CE, humanity has been searching for ways to overcome deadly diseases. In 1796, Edward Jenner successfully utilized cowpox material to create an immunization for smallpox, and vaccination technology has flourished since then. Through widespread vaccinations, smallpox was eradicated and other diseases like measles and mumps have been significantly tamed. Each year vaccinations become more sophisticated and protect everyday people from the sicknesses that kept humanity in the dark ages.
Vaccine hesitancy, the “reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines,” is one of the top ten threats to global health according to the World Health Organization. Diseases that were once close to elimination are making a comeback, and the mortality rate from illnesses has been rising despite the availability of vaccines.
Those who refuse to vaccinate their children, need to understand the jeopardy they put their kids and future generation in. Don’t believe the preposterous theories, vaccinate your children.
Today, childhood vaccinations are vital to a child’s healthy development. According to the Center for Disease Control, babies are born with strong immune systems with antibodies from their mothers but lose it over the first year of their lives. Little ones who have weak immune systems gain immunity to diseases like rubella and tetanus without having to fall sick with the illness first.
Back in 1900, the leading causes of death were pneumonia and tuberculosis, and many children did not have strong enough immune systems to fight off such illnesses and succumbed. Vaccines not only protect young kids but also save parents worrying and multiple trips to the doctor.
Despite the information on the reasons vaccinate children, anti-vaxxers vilify modern day vaccines for ridiculous reasons. Those against vaccines claim that vaccinations lead to horrible side effects. For example cancer expert Martin Gore passed away in January 2019 after a routine yellow fever vaccination.
One of the vaccinations side effects is organ failure, which killed Gore. However, this is extremely rare occurring less than one in a million doses, according to the NHS.
Typically for vaccines, the CDC states that there are effects like a mild fever and a sore arm, but more serious risks like a severe allergic reaction or seizures are rare outliers.
Another outrageous reason is that vaccines contain harmful ingredients like aluminum, formaldehyde and thiomersal, a mercury-containing preservative. While true these ingredients are present, they are controlled so that vaccinations are always “sterile and safe with the addition of minute amounts of chemical additives” to keep harmful bacteria and viruses in check.
One of the most ludicrous beliefs out there is that the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine causes autism. Jenny McCarthy is a well-known figure to the anti-vaccination community who claims that the MMR vaccine was what caused her son to develop autism. The MMR shot was dubbed the “autism shot” and many parents ran away from doctors’ offices.
The MMR shot does not cause autism or increase the risk of autism. Since the outbreak of measles due to vaccine hesitancy, studies like the one conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine have found no link between MMR and autism. Vaccines will not give your child autism.
Worse, vaccine hesitancy puts others at risk. Measles was not considered a large threat for children due to good vaccination coverage, but parents delaying their children’s immunizations or outright refusing to get them have been key to the measles outbreak in 2017.
Measles is highly contagious and can cause debilitating and fatal symptoms such as encephalitis, pneumonia and permanent vision loss. The Americas and Europe, in particular, had the greatest increase in cases, despite the two countries once being close to completely eradicating the illness. Diseases that were once controlled are now making a comeback and wreaking havoc on people around the world.
Nobody likes being sick. It ruins both happiness and productivity and gets others sick as well. The first vaccines were a breakthrough for humankind and we were no longer subject to the plagues of nature.
If parents truly want to protect their children and future generations, they should call their kids’ pediatricians and set up their next vaccination appointment.