The Dolphin

The Antivaccine Movement

By: Michael Lutz '16, ASST. OPINION EDITOR

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With the recent measles outbreak receiving a lot of media attention many people have been pointing fingers at parents who have refused to vaccinate their children. The outbreak, according to the Centers of Disease Control [CDC], can be traced back to Disney Land and there are now 102 cases in 14 states. While no officials have directly blamed unvaccinated children for the out break they are at a higher risk of contracting and spreading measles simply by not being vaccinated against it. It is true that the measles vaccine does not grant complete immunity; there is a chance that even with the vaccine you can still contract the deadly disease. However, according to the California Department of Public Health the vaccine is 99% effective. Therefore, whether they like it or not, anti-vaxxers are responsible for the outbreak and are consequently those most at risk of contracting measles.

The reasons that parents give for not vaccinating their children vary widely. Some parents, such as those in a pocket of measles outbreak in Orange County, California, who have not had their children vaccinated are actually highly educated. A major reason some anti-vaxxers cite is that the vaccine schedule created by the CDC for young children is pushing too many vaccines on young children and could be causing any number of problems. Skeptics cite the rising numbers of disabilities in young children like autoimmune disorders, asthma and ADHD. However, there is no scientific evidence linking the large number of required vaccines in such a short period of time, approximately 49 doses of 14 vaccines by the time the child is six, to these increased medical problems many are still skeptic. Personally, I believe skepticism is an important part of the scientific process. We have to be able to check and verify facts we are given. Although, when it comes to something like vaccines there is no scientific evidence that all children should not be vaccinated.

President Obama has publicly come out and said “There is every reason to get vaccinated–there aren’t reasons to not.” The science is indisputable; vaccines ultimately save lives. I believe that a major reason people are choosing to not vaccinate or get their children vaccinated on a delayed schedule is because they are unaware of the dangers of not receiving a vaccine. With nearly 95% of people vaccinated in the U.S. it can be easy to forget how deadly some of these diseases actually are. Meningitis, measles, mumps and rubella are still deadly diseases despite their decreased visibility. In 1912 more than 12,000 people died of measles in the U.S. alone, and nearly everybody knew someone who had suffered through the disease. Today the reported cases of measles rarely rise above a few hundred a year. Without the disease present and instilling fear, I believe many people are unaware of the dangers still posed by the disease.

Ultimately it still all comes down to choice, though. There are laws that grant parents the ability to opt out of vaccinations for their children. So until we mandate all children be vaccinated, the choice still rests with the parents. Therefore it is our duty as well-educated citizens to make sure misinformation about vaccines and diseases is not disseminated. The simple fact of the matter is that there is no reason for parents to not vaccinate their children. But if parents still want their child to die from an easily preventable disease, then that is their choice.

 

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The Antivaccine Movement