Anti-vaxxer movement causing rise in preventable diseases

The re-emergence of preventable diseases in the United States has led to some deadly and horrific illnesses to wreak havoc on the country once again.

While most of these diseases have largely been eradicated, in recent years some have started to make a come-back at alarming rates. Some of these diseases include measles, whooping cough and polio, which are all preventable with vaccinations.

The main reason these disease have started to make a re-appearance is a movement known as Anti-Vaxxing. Some groups of Anti-Vaxxers think that vaccines are filled with harmful chemicals and can even cause autism, which is false on both accounts.

057420515bc6b939aa381b9c16c1dda50f4b5d538ff58f0c8c4c0b73fffd850bVaccines are created to provide immunity to a specific disease or virus. They do this with antigens, which are small amounts of a weak or dead germs to help the immune system learn how to fight off an infection. Vaccines also contain adjuvants, which help the immune system respond stronger.

According to Vaccines.gov, ingredients of vaccines include: preservatives, which are only used in multi-dose vials to protect the contents from outside germs and bacteria; and stabilizers such as sugar and gelatin, which help the ingredients continue to work while they are made, stored and moved. Therefore, there are no “harmful chemicals” in vaccines.

The notion of a vaccine causing autism in children is absurd. A simple Google search can put the fears of that to rest. According to the National Center for Health Research, there is evidence of a possible genetic link, along with some other risk factors that include premature birth and the father of the child being significantly older than the mother.

Autism is a genetic disorder that can be diagnosed once a child is capable of some sort of cognitive interactions, usually around age 1 when some signs can be seen.

Vaccines such as Rotavirus, Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio are given between the age of 1 and 2 months. Others such as Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Chicken Pox are not given until age 1, which, coincidentally, is when some signs of autism can be seen.

So what proof do the Anti-Vaxxers have that link autism to vaccines? They have no proof, other than the fact that no definite cause of autism has been found.

Anti-Vaxxers also believe that it is their First Amendment right to not vaccinate their child, which is technically true. However, there are laws and legislation that require children to have certain vaccines before entering kindergarten.

Not vaccinating a child doesn’t just put that child at risk. It puts hundreds of others at risk as well. Vaccines for measles can’t be given to an infant until 1 year of age. If another child has not been vaccinated against measles and comes in contact with other children, they could be exposed to the disease, which could be deadly.

Not vaccinating a child can also decrease something known as “herd immunity,” which is the general immunity of a community. The more people are vaccinated, the more resistance to the spread of a disease there is.

There is no reason to not have a child vaccinated. It protects that child from some very dangerous and, frankly, scary illnesses. It not only prevents and protects for a single child, but an entire community or society of children.

Author: Kendall Rainer

Freshman at SPC from Georgetown, Texas. Photo Editor for the plainsman press

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