Vaccines are Safe

Logan Detweiler, Staff Writer

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In 1998 a certain man published a study on how the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella, (MMR vaccine) can cause autism in children who are administered the vaccine. As many may know, this study could never be replicated by the science community, and the publisher of the study lost his medical license. But this study has had a long-reaching impact on how much of modern America views vaccines, and has caused hesitancy in many parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. This is, of course, dangerous and backwards. The result of this skepticism is non-vaccinated children who are extremely at risk for potentially fatal diseases that were wiped out a century ago.

The WHO (World Health Organization) cites “vaccine hesitancy” as a global health threat, meaning it puts lives in danger. Vaccines are a very cheap, yet effective way to prevent disease, and not using them when you can is just plain idiotic. When people don’t vaccinate themselves, it doesn’t put just them at risk, but their communities and families. A voluntarily non-vaccinated person is like a ticking time bomb, and their misguided beliefs are a danger to others. A person who can afford to vaccinate themselves or their children but chooses not to is only making diseases more likely to affect a person who couldn’t afford vaccines on their own. This is commonly known as “community immunity”, the idea that you protect your community by vaccinating yourself.

The measles virus isn’t as common as it used to be, as people are easily protected from the virus by the MMR vaccine. However, 2019 is shaping up to be one of the worst years for the measles virus, as we already have 228 recorded cases as off early March, compared to 2017’s total count of 120 cases. This is incredibly concerning, as measles is a potentially fatal disease that can leave one in the hospital, or worse, dead. In children, 1 out of 20 develop pneumonia, 1 out of 1000 can develop encephalitis (the swelling of the brain), and 1 or 2 will die for every 1000. In protecting our nation’s children, the MMR vaccine is an almost sure way to shield them from the possibility of suffering and death. As upsetting as it is, there are people in this country who believe that not vaccinating their children is best for them, which only puts them and others in harm’s way.