Measles Outbreak Presents Argument Against Anti-Vax

Daja Dansby, Editor

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After the elimination of measles in the United States as reported by the CDC in 2000, the number of new cases had maintained a fairly steady low. That is until 2014, when the CDC reported multiple outbreaks, especially prominent among unvaccinated Amish populations in Ohio. With the reappearance of this disease, the anti-vaccination movement has come under attack. Whether it be for medical and religious obligations or mere personal preference, people are deciding to not vaccinate their children. If we don’t want to regress and all start dying from preventable disease, people are going to need to make some realizations, and fast.

Since the invention of the vaccination, there have been skeptics. Even as the number of diseases dropped, people still questioned the new medicine. Despite this, one would think that with the overall positive effects that vaccines have had, the general public would hop on board. Who wouldn’t be all for a life without deadly diseases running rampant through the streets? Apparently, a lot of people.

The number of skeptics rose drastically when Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a former British doctor, published faulty information linking vaccines to autism. The doctor gained somewhat of a cult following which led to a drop in the number of immunizations across the UK, Ireland and United States.

Everyone latching on to the false information given by Wakefield, who ended up losing his license, and opting-out of these shots is putting not only themselves, but potentially the entire population at risk.

For some reason, people don’t realize how vast of an effect vaccines have had. Death due to measles, which at one point was at 2.6 million people a year, took a sharp down turn with the introduction of the MMR shot, its respective vaccination. Though there were (inevitably) still deaths, there was an 80% drop from 2000-2017, according to The World Health Organization. Less than five percent of children that got the shot contracted the disease. Knowing that vaccinations are saving lives and drastically dropping the number of deaths due to certain diseases, it has to be pondered why anyone would deny their child this chance at life.

One of the biggest arguments against vaccinations, which has been mocked and rolled over on multiple social media platforms is the idea that getting vaccinated will lead to autism; a point that was, need I remind you, debunked. Vaccines are proven to be effective and of little risk. This being the case, there are no solid personal reasons to deny vaccinations.

Now don’t get confused, there are valid and recognized reasons for people to not get vaccinated, just not personal-preference ones. It is mandated that every child in the country get vaccinated for school; despite this, exemptions are permitted. Some individuals are physically unable to receive the shots because of something pertaining to their health, a note that all states acknowledge through allowing children medical exemptions. Similarly, most states (47 out of the 50), realize that people have obligations to their religion that don’t allow them to be immunized. But when it comes to ideological reasons, most state legislators see how ridiculous and counterproductive it is to opt-out of vaccines, as only 17 states continue to allow these exemptions.

It’s unrealistic to believe that an entire country will agree with doctors inserting something unfamiliar into their bloodstream. It’s okay to be wary and to ask questions but when met with the facts, slight doubt should be relinquished for the moment knowing that it’s a child’s life potentially at stake.

Children are currently dying because of the outbreak of a preventable disease. This didn’t have to happen, and this doesn’t have to continue to happen. Everyone preventing their children from getting vaccines needs to take a long, hard look at their reasoning in contrast to the facts and weigh their options, very, very carefully.

“Anti-Vaxxers a Threat to All of Us.” Star Beacon, 14 Feb. 2019, www.starbeacon.com/opinion/columns/anti-vaxxers-a-threat-to-all-of-us/article_220a301a-e793-5263-8b4b-d421e44e405c.html.

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“Disgraced Doctor’s Shocking Effect on Vaccination Rates.” Google Search, Google, www.google.com/amp/s/amp.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/exiled-british-doctors-antivax-cult-alive-and-well-in-america/news-story/4738454aad62bf0aae93acfdb2923c8c.

HealthLeaders. Top 5 Differences Between NFPs and For-Profit Hospitals, www.healthleadersmedia.com/strategy/anti-vax-movement-growing.

“Measles.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/measles.

“Safeguarding Our Health.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12 July 2018, newsinhealth.nih.gov/special-issues/parenting/safeguarding-our-health.

“State Vaccination Exemptions for Children Entering Public Schools.” ProConorg Headlines, vaccines.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=003597.

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