Vaccinate Your Kids

Anti-vaxxers make dumb mistakes, and the rest of us are to pay for them

The  Naval Hospital Camp hosted an event to encourage parents to vaccinate their kids.

Jackeline Perez Rivera

The Naval Hospital Camp hosted an event to encourage parents to vaccinate their kids.

By Gwen Langi, Pro & Con Editor

Although American medicine is among the best in the world, the U.S. suffers from a nonsensical coalition of people who fight against modern day medicine—the anti-vaxxers.

They reject vaccinations and refuse to give them to their children. What results is the return of previously eradicated diseases that threaten the unvaccinated kids and the rest of the population.

Over the past decade, the anti-vaxxers have grown dramatically, and with them, the resurgence of deadly diseases.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the percentage of children under two years old without vaccinations quadrupled since 2001.

The reason for the lack of vaccinations were parents refusing immunization due to religious or personal beliefs concerning the supposed long-term effects of vaccinations.

Many anti vaxxers also claim that autism, ADHD and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome are caused by vaccinations. This myth has been debunked multiple times, and the original medical paper that claimed MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines cause autism has been retracted. There is no factual evidence supporting the myth of cause and effect.

These parents believe that it’s their right to prevent the vaccinations from reaching their children; they fail to recognize the threat they pose to their children and society.

There have been many cases resulting from vaccination refusal. A six-year-old Oregon boy with anti-vaxx parents acquired tetanus through a minor injury. His case worsened resulting in the need for emergency air-transportation to a hospital where mechanical ventilation and multiple medications were required.

The child was lucky to live after two months of intensive care. However, the fatality rate for cases of untreated tetanus is over 90 percent, which is why vaccinations for tetanus–as well as other diseases–are very crucial.

Situations like these can be completely preventable with a small and quick needle injection.

Dr. Albert Wu, professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, commented on the Oregon incident.

“This was entirely preventable—an unnecessary episode of torture for this poor child. Tetanus is a truly deadly disease, accounting for 5 percent of neonatal and maternal deaths,” Dr. Wu said. “This is a self-inflicted wound and an expensive one at that. And it cost someone—whether it’s an insurance company or the public—over a million dollars.”

Measles was declared eradicated from the U.S in 2000. But in 2018, 372 individual cases of measles were confirmed, resulting in the second-greatest number of annual cases reported. Without a doubt, anti-vaxxers were behind this breakout.

Measles is also extremely contagious. According to the CDC, 90 percent of Americans infected by measles since the 1990s have not been vaccinated. With the rise of anti-vaxxers, more people are at risk.

According to the World Health Organization, vaccines currently prevent two to three million deaths worldwide per year, and more than 1 and a half million more lives could be saved if anti-vaxxers changed their beliefs.

Not only do anti-vaxxers put their children at risk, but they also put society at risk through the erosion of herd immunity, a general immunity to diseases developed over time by a population, usually through decades of vaccination campaigns. Though the people in the population are not completely immune to the diseases, they are more resilient and unlikely to contract them. Unvaccinated children threaten herd immunity by bringing back the eliminated diseases.

Herd immunity is a key factor for maintaining public health. As seen with the worldwide vaccination campaign against smallpox, a deadly disease with over 300 fatalities in the 20th century alone, worldwide herd immunity was developed, leading to the complete eradication of smallpox.

Anti-vaxxers set time back centuries to the eras of common deadly diseases. Personal, religious and secular beliefs are of lesser importance than the lives of children and the public.

Please vaccinate your kids. I do not want to die.