Vaccines, A No-Brainer Decision
by Audrey Hsu
If a parent would voluntarily see their kids suffer, they would not allow their children vaccination. In the United States, 30% of kids are not vaccinated. Such a high number of unvaccinated children is not created by poverty, but by stubborn parents who refuse to accept the benefits of vaccination. There may be many cases where a parent may not be able to afford a trip to the doctor’s, but in many communities, local clinics, including an organization called the VFC (Vaccinations for Children), are offering free vaccinations. So what are parents afraid of? Why are schools right in making vaccination mandatory for school enrollment?
Many myths encircle the effects of vaccinations in young children that parents quickly misinterpret in fear for their child’s welfare. A well-known example is a case in 2007, where an English scientist named Andrew Wakefield proclaimed that vaccines in children lead to autism, based on observations of his experiment. Since Wakefield had not proven his hypothesis, this mere statement is not credible. There is no solid evidence behind his claim. There is a theory that vaccines contain a harmful chemical called Thimerosal, which overstimulates the central nervous system and leads to autism. In reality, Thimerosal was never allowed in vaccinations for children six years old and under, and only trace amounts were found in vaccines for adults. The 2007 case was proven wrong a few years later when research proved that vaccines did not directly cause any form of autism or disorder in children.
The reason behind the fear of clowns for many is the unknown identity of the person behind the mask. This applies to many other fears, like nyctophobia (fear of the dark), or entomophobia (fear of insects), and vaccines. A concerned parent has every right to be afraid of unknown substances being injected into their children. But are these substances really unknown? The definition of a vaccine is “a substance used to stimulate production of antibodies to defend the body against a specific disease using a non-harmful form of the disease.” Considering the clear rationale of a vaccine's inner workings, it is apparent that parents and children alike should be more educated on how a vaccine works in order to prevent a collective fear of the unknown chemicals in vaccines.
If parents truly care about their children, naturally they will do everything in their power to keep their child in good health. Vaccines ensure that kids around the world everyday are less susceptible to deadly diseases, and statistics show that, in the last 20 years, vaccines alone have prevented 320 million kids from getting sick. On top of that, 720,000 lives have been saved from inevitable death.
An unintended consequence of not vaccinating is affecting the children at school. Even though many at school may be vaccinated, there are other students and family members who are still liable to catch a child’s contracted illnesses, further spreading a harmful ailment around the community. In early January of this year, a woman brought her two unvaccinated kids to Disneyland, and infected over 120,000 children and adults with an outbreak of measles. This outbreak became even more widespread when tourists who traveled to Disneyland went back to their hometowns. Many were quarantined and had to be vaccinated, all because of the actions of one parent who refused to vaccinate her children. People who cause misfortune to others by not vaccinating should not be allowed in large public areas.
It is obvious that no matter what parents may think about vaccines, getting kids immunized is the only way to go about the matter. Those who refuse this fact will not only sacrifice their kids and their own health and happiness, but the masses who are also affected by their decision.
- Gorski, David. "The Disneyland measles outbreak continues apace, and a woman refuses quarantine", Respectful Insolence. January 15, 2015.
- Vaxview, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. October 6, 2016.
- Gholipour, Bahar. "Vaccination Has Saved 732,000 Children's Lives Since 1994", Live Science. April 24, 2014.