As the movement against vaccines is gaining traction, we are seeing its effects as more and more kids are getting sick and cities are struggling to control outbreaks.
The war against vaccines first started with Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who led a study to show a correlation between autism in children and vaccines including the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. It was later discovered that the medical histories of the children partaking in the experiment were misrepresented and Wakefield was later stripped of his medical license.
However, his inaccurate findings were already published in the British Medical Journal, resulting in a massive drop of vaccinated children in the UK, which eventually made its way to the U.S. Since then, we have seen numbers of preventable diseases rise in the U.S., the highest being in 2014 when 667 confirmed cases of measles infected children and adults throughout the country.
In 2000, before the anti-vax movement truly took off, the U.S. was confirmed by health officials to be completely rid of measles. Now, less than two decades later, measles can be found in a third of states, mostly infecting children.
The important thing to note about vaccines is it doesn’t just affect the one person, it affects everyone around them. There is a term known as “herd immunity” which explains how the more healthy individuals who get vaccinated, the less the disease can travel to those who can’t get a vaccine, whether it’s because of age, size or another health condition.
Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, explained the importance of herd immunity within communities.
“When you choose for your child not to get a vaccine, it’s not a choice that you’re making for yourself alone, you’re making that choice for other people who are near you who may be too young to be vaccinated, or who are getting chemotherapy for their cancer, or are getting immune-suppressive therapy for their transplants,” Offit said. “They depend upon those around them to be vaccinated, and if they are not, then these are the people who are going to be the most likely to suffer and be hospitalized and die from diseases.”
Even with herd immunity in mind, anti-vaxers are still adamant about avoiding vaccines to prevent their child from contracting autism. There are a few issues with this logic.
The first being the simple fact that this theory was completely disproved. As mentioned, Wakefield’s experiment was proven to be a fraud created to get published and to profit from the attention it was given. The CDC has published numerous experiments to prove that vaccines are safe and not responsible for any cases of autism in children.
The second problem with not vaccinating your children in fear of autism is the complete disregard of what these diseases can do if your child gets affected. Polio, measles and tuberculosis are vicious diseases that can leave paralyzing or even fatal affects on it’s victims. Having the mindset of risking your child of a shortened life from fear of autism is sick.
Unfortunately, many people are getting brainwashed into having this mindset which is all based off fake science. This isn’t a usual political issue or a debate that contains little weight, this is the prevention of lethal diseases that used to wipe out populations that could easily be defeated with our medicinal advancements and privileges.
Vaccinating yourself and your children is the only way to keep not only ourselves but our communities safe. There’s no reason to risk lives over one false study.