Essay The Debate Of Vaccines And Autism

Essay The Debate Of Vaccines And Autism

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Vaccines are one of the most valuable contributions to society. They protect us from serious illnesses and complications from numerous diseases. However, even with access to vaccines, there has been an increase in hospitalizations and deaths, every year, due to children not being vaccinated. One reason for the declination of vaccines are a parent’s fear that the vaccination may cause autism. This fear has caused vaccination rates to steadily decline and has created numerous health concerns within our society. For these reasons, this debate continues to be an on going topic, within the United States. This paper will examine the argument behind the vaccine and autism link, the thimerosal controversy, vaccine avoidance, religious views, moral points of view, the importance of vaccinations to society, and herd immunity.

The argument concerning vaccines and autism, started in 1998 with the publication of a fraudulent research study performed by doctor Andrew Wakefield, in a respected medical journal called The Lancet. The study claimed that autism was directly linked to the MMR vaccine. This claim produced fear and panic among parents, causing vaccination rates to fall significantly. In turn, this lead to the reemergence of many childhood illnesses. However, once Wakefield’s studies could not be replicated, his credibility was called into question. After “subsequent research found no supporting evidence of a correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism, the study was discredited.” (Dyer, 2010)

The use of the preservative thimerosal in vaccines is another major factor that has been highly debated in its relationship to the onset of autism. Its use became an issue in “1998, when the U.S. legislation mandated measuring mercury in al...

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...ulation.” (Hall, 2009) Clustering is particularly associated with these types of disease outbreaks because when herd immunity is compromised, diseases can spread easily. Clustering is often derived from groups of people, who live in communities close together, who share similar beliefs about vaccinations.

Unfortunately, “Parents today are overwhelmed with decisions regarding their children 's health and well being. They are inundated with media reports from profit driven pharmaceutical companies, anti-vaccine activists and outspoken internet and television personalities.” (Chatterjee, 2010) With all of this outside influence and input, parents are in need of trusted expert advice. For this reason, healthcare providers need to correct misconceptions, that allow parents to make educated and informed decisions, regarding their child’s health care needs and welfare.

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