Is the fear of allowing their kids to get vaccinated getting in the way and putting the rest of us at risk? There are many arguments over the subject of vaccines. Most people are convinced that vaccines are bad for their child’s health. Every parent wants what is best for their child but they’re getting mislead with false information and it’s fine to question things. Vaccines have reduced or eliminated many diseases, that most parents have never seen their child get affected with diseases such as polio, measles or whooping cough.
Measles is coming back and it is a contagious virus that invades the nose and throat, spreading through coughing and sneezing. This virus can live for two hours in the airspace where an infected person have coughed or sneezed. Measles is extremely contagious that if a person has it, up to 90% of people close to them who aren’t immune will become infected. In 2000-2017 measles-related deaths dropped by 80 percent but it started increasing twice as much in 2018. There was an estimate of 307,000 reported of measles worldwide in 2018 based on a preliminary study. The beginning of this year through March 21, there have been 314 confirmed measles cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rockland Country is declaring a state of emergency and minors who are unvaccinated against measles from being in public places, and known to be the “worst measles outbreak in decades”. The emergency outrage is the most serious step the state has taken since the measles outbreak began last fall. The outbreak has affected ultra-Orthodox communities in Rockland Country and New York City, where the vaccination rates are lower but the anti-vaccination literature has spread causing many people to believe being vaccinated is poison.
Parents who are worried about vaccination believe all the myths that were told to them about vaccines and it’s understandable because it’s your child who are taking in these substances. The first study in 1998, Andre Wakefield first hypothesis was that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine causes children to have intestinal, inflammation, allowing it to enter the bloodstream of proteins harmful to the brain, and resulting in the development of autism. To back up his hypothesis, he described 12 children having developmental delay and 8 of them had autism. The children who developed autism according to Wakefield’s received it one month from taking the MMR. The second study happened in 2002, Wakefield and his coworkers examine the relationship between measles virus and autism. They tested intestinal biopsy samples to identify measles virus on children with and without autism. 75 out of 91 children with autism were claimed to have measles virus in intestinal biopsy tissue than those who didn’t have autism, resulting in 5 out of 70 patients. This appears to be concerning to the public but Wakefield both studies were critically flawed.
The first study written by Wakefield in 1998 was flawed because 90 percent of children in England received an MMR when he started to write this paper. The MMR was administered during the time many children were being diagnosed with autism but it was also expected that children’s with autism would have received an MMR vaccine. He also claimed that autism is a result of intestinal inflammation, which he observed intestinal symptoms after and not before. The second study was also critically flawed because natural measles virus is circulating in England, it would’ve played an important role to determine if the measles virus detected in these samples were natural measles virus or vaccine virus. It could’ve been distinguished from these two types of virus but chose not to. All laboratory studies are done by a person who should not know whether the sample is obtained from a case with autism or without autism. It would be a valid concern in the early 90s but there are 30 years of evidence showing that autism is not linked to vaccines.
Other statements told by people is that vaccines cost loads but in reality, they don’t. For example, the whooping cough vaccine cost around 100 for three full doses. If you think that’s a lot, coming in for a checkup or emergency for whooping cough can be thousands for a significant treatment. For those who believe vaccines are enormously profitable, it would’ve been more profitable for the medical industry to not vaccinate because catching a disease is really expensive. Most believe that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are lying to the people. The United States is not the only country that recommends vaccines, there are many public health organizations in the world who promote it. Places such as France, Australia, The UK, China, Japan and so on recommend vaccines. Last but not least, vaccine injury is common or people are getting sicker. This statement is inaccurate, we aren’t getting sicker but instead getting stubbornly healthier which doesn’t only go for the wealthy country such as Latin American and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Asia, Developing Oceania, and Africa. These are common arguments that are based on lies because vaccines are effective and safe.
There are plenty of parents who have installed in their minds that vaccines are designed to not actually protect you from diseases but most likely get infectious diseases this way. As a result, many parents are skipping out on crucial shots for their children that could cause risking their life. I have interviewed my sister in law who has a child of her own and stands for getting vaccinated. I have asked her “how do you feel about your child getting vaccinated?” and she answered “I feel as if our child has to be updated with all their shots, for their safety because there are a lot of changes with new cases of the flu and different sickness. The vaccines are what is best for them and preventing diseases from coming back into their bodies”. If most children are getting vaccinated, then why does it matter if another child doesn’t? If a larger amount of people are protected from a disease from a vaccine, the disease is less likely to circulate, making an unvaccinated child not a risk factor. We know that measles is contagious and for this to work, 93-95 percent of people in a community need to be vaccinated to achieve immunity. Children’s who aren’t vaccinated are not just risking their lives but people who can’t be vaccinated for medical reason such as infants, pregnant women and people who are immunocompromised.
Making them come together will be difficult because they have two completely different points of view but at the end of the day they’re parents who care about their kids. Even if most might disagree but they’re doing what they think is best for their health and are willing to put themselves in controversial conversations. The only way to put them together is to be open minded of both sides because if you refuse to understand one side, there won’t be any conversation but yelling.
Getting your child vaccinated helps protect others in your community. Not just basing it off the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proclaims but thousands of dedicated researchers have spent decades to make sure they are safe. Those of us who understand the risk know how important and safe vaccines are might just need to meet them where they are and those who continue to vaccinate, parents in the future may be able to trust that most diseases of today won’t exist to harm their children in the future.
Paul A. Offit, MD, Lori Handy, MD, MSCE , Heather Monk Bodenstab, PharmD. (2018, May 07). Vaccines and autism. Retrieved from https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccines-and-other-conditions/vaccines-autism
Gold M. (2019, March 19). Parents wanted their unvaccinated children in school, but a judge said no. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/13/nyregion/measles-rockland-county.html?action=click