To vaccinate? Or not to vaccinate?

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Jenna Bradford, Ads Manager

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Vaccine or no vaccine, that is the question. There has been a lot of controversy around the idea of vaccinating children. Many people claim to have found sources linking vaccinations to diseases and disorders such as autism, asthma, multiple sclerosis, and more (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). This misinformation is being spread around the world causing parents to panic and avoid vaccines, which is creating a worldwide outbreak of the measles. There have been 839 individual cases throughout 23 states. The disease was eradicated in 2000 but is now making a comeback (cdc.gov). 

Most parents fear their child will get autism. “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that is caused by differences in how the brain functions” (cdc.gov). This does not affect the child’s ability to behave, communicate, interact, or learn. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report on vaccinations. They studied eight different vaccines that both adults and children receive. Researchers found “evidence favors rejection of five vaccine-adverse event relationships, including MMR vaccine and autism and inactivated influenza vaccine and asthma episodes” (nationalacademies.org). It was found that few side effects were directly related to the vaccinations. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did a study in 2013. This study evaluated the antigens, a substance that causes the body to produce the disease fighting antibodies, in the vaccine during the first two years of a child’s life. They took children both with ASD and children without it and studied their antigen levels from the vaccine. They had concluded, “In this study of MCO members, increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines during the first 2 years of life was not related to the risk of developing an ASD (jpeds.com). The number of antigens in the children was the same regardless of having ASD or not (cdc.gov). 

That is not to say there will be no side effects from the vaccines. “…all vaccines carry a risk of anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction in about one per million children” (vaccines.procon.org). The possibility of having a deadly reaction to the vaccine is very slim. While it still leaves a chance, it is far better than the statistics of major complications with the measles and other diseases. One or two children out of every 1,000 with the measles will die from the disease, one out of every 20 kids with measles will contract pneumonia, and about one out of every 1,000 with the measles will contract encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, which leads to convulsions that can leave a child deaf or with an intellectual disability. Years after having the measles, children can still contract subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), a fatal disease of the central nervous system (cdc.gov). 

Another reason to vaccinate is to protect other people’s children. Many children and people cannot get vaccinated. People with aliments causing weak immune systems such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, along with other diseases, are some of those who cannot receive vaccines. Other people are children with allergies, and infants too young to receive vaccinesSome kids are allergic to the contents of the vaccines and cannot receive them or they could suffer from a deadly reaction (vaccines.gov). 

There is a chance of a child having a bad reaction to the vaccines, however, it is better to get the vaccine because the risks of measles if far greater and deadlier. It not only protects the vaccinated child, but also the children who cannot receive the vaccines and are more susceptible to the diseases. It is better for all if everyone is vaccinated to eliminate the spread of these deadly diseases.