By Scotlyn McConnell
In my government class, we were given an assignment to come up with a bill to propose. My group decided to make a bill entitled the Mandatory Child Vaccination Act. This bill would make it so that all children in America must be given their immunizations. We decided to make the fake bill because of the consistent rise of parents who are choosing not to give their kids vaccinations.
Not vaccinating kids is problematic for a couple of different reasons. The biggest is that the child could get sick with a variety of different diseases. Not only that, but that child is now in constant contact with other children who, even though they’ve gotten their shots, can contract that disease. Therefore, parents who don’t vaccinate are endangering their child and everyone they come in contact with.
The biggest defense for people not vaccinating is that it will cause autism. This was sparked in 1998 when Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist, published a paper in which he stated the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine might cause autism. This paper was written with lots of pseudo and fringe science and didn’t consist of a lot of hard facts. The paper has been disproven by many scientists and doctors, and countless books have been written about the falsehood. Recently, the writer himself even admitted that the paper wasn’t accurate.
In reality, the only real harm to come from vaccines is the possibility of an allergic reaction which could cause asphyxia. The statistical likelihood of this happening is one in a million, but it’s still possible. However this can also happen if you take an Advil or Zyrtec without knowing you’re allergic. Regardless, anxious parents are still scared of the vaccines.
Another reason some parents choose not to vaccinate is because they believe that natural remedies can do the same thing vaccines can. While this is true, natural substitutes are difficult to find and do correctly, and the effects won’t last as long as a vaccine. Natural remedies are a short term way to treat something, but when you’re vaccinated, a small dose of the disease is released into the body. The body then works to create a defense to the disease so that if ever exposed to the full force of it, the body can have a better chance of fighting it.
I understand why parents would choose to not vaccinate: it’s scary to allow someone to put a potentially fatal disease into your child. It’s also scary to have the possibility of your child contracting another illness because of the vaccine. However, most parents who don’t vaccinate tend to read all of the fringe science and then decide to not vaccinate. Before choosing to not vaccinate and put your child and everyone else in danger, read actual studies of vaccines, do real research. Entire books have been dedicated to the study of these, and they’re much more reliable than a blog post about the link between vaccines and autism.