Vaccines are said to be one of the greatest public health achievements in history. They date back to 1796, when Edward Jenner used cowpox material to create immunity to the smallpox disease. (Historyofvaccines.org 2014) Now over two-hundred years later they’ve helped dramatically reduce the instance of viral diseases in children. For example, old childhood diseases such as Polio, Smallpox, and Diptheria have either been completely eradicated or are rarely seen in the United States thanks to vaccines. However, in recent years we’ve seen a sharp increase in parents who opt out of having their children receive these life-saving immunizations. This is mostly due to accusations over different side effects and a link between vaccines and autism, which is causing this new trend known to most as “the Anti-Vaccine Movement.”(Ashbrook, 2014) A major side effect of this movement is the comeback of old world diseases. We are seeing a rise specifically in measles and pertussis mostly within states that have the lowest vaccination rates. (Raja, Mooney 2014) Even though we have proof of their effectiveness based on scientific research and statistics, there are still parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated, ultimately putting their health at risk and the health of others who are not well enough or old enough to be vaccinated. It is extremely important that we try to reach out to these people and educate them on why their children should be vaccinated, not only for their health but for overall health within our communities.
One of the most notorious reasons parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children is the supposed link between vaccines and autism. Glamorous cel...
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...rsonal stance. What about the children who aren’t old enough or healthy enough to be vaccinated? Or the children who have been vaccinated, but the vaccine didn’t work for them? These children depend on the immunity of the people around them to maintain their health. In healthcare terms, this is called, “herd immunity.” A good example of why herd immunity is important would be the case of a 3 week old from Transylvania County whom contracted pertussis or “whooping cough” last September and died from it. (ncdhhs.gov 2013) This child was not old enough to be vaccinated against the disease and solely depended on the immunity of the people around her to keep her safe. When parents opt out of vaccinating their children, they are breaking down the total immunity within their communities thus making these unfortunate people who can’t protect themselves more vulnerable.
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