Archive | February, 2015

Anti-Vaccine Movement

28 Feb

There has been a lot of talk about vaccines lately following the current outbreak of Measles in different parts of the U.S.  The latest outbreak has happened because a small but significant amount of people have chosen not to vaccinate their kids.  Some have suggested that this is simply a matter of personal choice or freedom which it isn’t.  This outbreak has been caused by misinformation and widespread fear.  Things need to change or we will have a bigger problem on our hands.

Vaccines have been an integral part of our health since the smallpox vaccine was invented in the late 1700’s.  Smallpox causes skin lesions, and can cause lung problems, blindness, and death.  Smallpox has since been eradicated because of the use of vaccines.  Vaccines have weakened or eliminated many diseases that once caused havoc on the general population.  Some of this could change if a large part of the population decides not to vaccinate their kids.

Andrew Wakefield wrote a paper in a medical journal claiming there is a link between the MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and autism.  The report has since been discredited and he lost his medical license for falsifying his report.  There are rumors that he was paid several thousand dollars to write this now discredited report.  So why do people still believe him?  Some people are still using his report even though it has been discredited.

Jenny McCarthy has been one of the most prominent people to claim that there is a link between autism and vaccines.  I don’t know why people listen to her because she has no medical background whatsoever.  The damage she caused has been substantial. As I mentioned, there has been a measles outbreak in Disneyland.  This isn’t an issue of your choice affecting only you, this effects everyone.

Polio is another disease that once ravaged the world and is now nearly extinct.  Jonas Salk created a polio vaccine that caused a significant drop in cases after it was introduced and that number continued to drop until it has been practically eliminated around the world.  That is why vaccines are important.  I understand there are people who are severely immunocompromised that can’t take a vaccine, but everyone else should get vaccinated.  The results speak for themselves, vaccines work.

It is incredibly important that everyone vaccinate their children.  The vaccine for polio came out 2 years after my dad was diagnosed with polio.  My dad never got the chance to get vaccinated for polio.  It is stupid that people are taking vaccines for granted.  Even if the vaccines were to cause autism (which they don’t) what does that say about you as a parent?  If you would rather your child die from a preventable illness than develop autism than you need to rethink whether you can call yourself a good parent.