Vaccinations have been an ongoing debate for a long time. Ever since they were introduced in 1798, people have been skeptical and full of questions. The debate died down for a while until the 2016 presidential elections in which Donald Trump supported anti-vaccine pseudoscience.
While anti-vaccination movements have been around for years, today’s anti-vaxxers are made up of political and religious leaders, and concerned parents. They make the argument that vaccinations are dangerous and cause autism, and claim that children would be strong enough to fight off diseases naturally.
Is this really the case? Scientific research says otherwise. It has been proven that vaccinations are effective in eradicating certain diseases such as smallpox, polio, tetanus, and whooping cough in the US, which saved millions of people. Vaccinations also strengthen the immune system, protecting not only yourself but others around you. So, despite the endless debates, receiving vaccines as a child should be mandatory in America because it can prevent the spread of deadly diseases.
Myths About Vaccinations
Vaccinations are essentially a weaker and safer form of the pathogen, which allows the body to recognize the pathogen and create the appropriate antibody to fight it. By doing this, the body can memorize what antibodies it created so that there’s a faster response to the disease in the future. This is called immunity.
There are many myths about vaccinations that have little science to back them up. One of the major arguments by the opposers is that vaccinations cause autism. This idea was brought to light by a British surgeon named Andrew Wakefield in 1998. In an article he wrote, he claimed that the measles vaccine was linked to autism in children. This is not only a harmful myth, but also an erroneous one as other scientists also conducted the same tests and did not yield the same results. Since then, many have deemed the experiment flawed, especially considering the study only included twelve children. The CDC stated there is no valid evidence showing a link between autism and vaccines.
Another point the opposers like to make is that vaccines contain harmful ingredients and therefore shouldn’t be used because they may cause damage to the body. Part of this claim holds some truth; some vaccines do contain toxins that would be harmful in large amounts. These toxins can include mercury, formaldehyde, and aluminum. However, vaccinations contain minuscule amounts of these ingredients, meaning that they will cause absolutely no harm whatsoever. What anti-vaccinators may not know is that they have already been exposed to these toxins by eating and drinking certain foods. Thus, the chemicals aren’t as harmful as some may think they are.
Why Vaccines Are So Important
Vaccination is paramount in keeping your child and yourself safe from diseases. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that “most childhood vaccines are 90%-99% effective in preventing disease.” By vaccinating your child, you could be saving their life and also preventing others from contracting a disease in the process. This is called “herd immunity.” When the majority of a population is vaccinated, it reduces the chance of an outbreak in the future. Herd immunity mostly helps people who cannot get vaccinated due to financial problems, old age, or sickness.
As stated before, several diseases have successfully been eradicated thanks to vaccines. A prominent example of this is smallpox, a disease that has killed millions. The last case of smallpox in the US was in 1948 because of the administering of the vaccines. However, just because one disease is gone doesn’t mean that others don’t exist. Polio, although mostly gone in the US, still exists in other parts of the world. That’s why vaccines are still important.
By supporting pro-vaccine research and studies, you can help persuade anti-vaxxers that vaccinations are good for the people. If people cannot afford to get vaccines, there are an abundant amount of organizations willing to administer vaccines for low cost. An example is the Vaccines for Children Program. As long as the child meets one of the requirements, they are eligible for a free vaccine.
Vaccines are essential to any child and adult and should be mandatory. While lots of politicians, celebrities, and parents may believe that vaccines are harmful, the evidence contradicting their claims exists. Yes, certain vaccines may have adverse effects on certain people who maybe are allergic to certain ingredients. That’s why it is up to everyone else to vaccinate their children and themselves. Receiving vaccines stops the spreading of disease, and even grants immunity to unborn children. That way, future generations can be unaffected and live happily and healthily.
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