To Vaccinate, Or Not To Vaccinate, Is That Really The Question?
In 2000 Measles was declared eradicated in the U.S. by the CDC. This basically means that the reported cases out of a pre determined number of people, over a specific time is low enough as to not cause concerns of an outbreak. It does NOT mean zero cases as many people believe it to.
Which is of course why we have mandatory vaccination laws in most states for certain diseases given to children before entering school. It is so that the few cases that did still turn up (or were imported by travelers) had very little chance of ever reaching the point of declaring an emergency due to a mass outbreak of the disease.
Seems like common sense right?
Now days whenever we have an outbreak many people jump right to blaming the anti vaccine activists who refuse to vaccinate their children at all based on what I consider to be flawed data sets. Today in the U.S. this is still a very hot topic for debate for many reasons on both sides of the argument.
The data shows that the blame does indeed fall squarely on the shoulders of the people who choose not to vaccinate their children because well, vaccinated children do not usually contract the infection. Its that simple.
So what started this movement? That start came in 1982 with the release of a documentary film called "DPT-Vaccine Roulette" The following video is a 14 min preview. You can click the link to watch the entire 1 hour documentary. It pertains primarily to the vaccination for Pertussis (whooping cough), vaccine which the CDC and numerous other studies had raised serious concerns about. Mainly that it was causing severe brain damage in some children who received it. And there is strong evidence that it was. (Video one)
Now, its important to understand that the actual number of "anti-Vaccinators remains relatively small, according to the CDC data on all of the most common vaccines given to children. The majority of parents are still vaccinating their children against these diseases due in large part to many of the "scare tactic" publications being wholly discredited. I for one am among this group. My children were vaccinated as required by law, as well as the simple fact that... I want to protect my children from everything that I possibly can. I mean as a father that is kind of my job is it not?
I am happy to say they are very healthy.
From the CDC: 92% is considered optimal
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (4+ doses DTP, DT, or DTaP): 83.4%
Polio (3+ doses): 91.9%
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) (1+ doses): 91.1%
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) (primary series + booster dose): 81.8%
Hepatitis B (Hep B) (3+ doses): 90.5%
Chickenpox (Varicella) (1+ doses): 90.6%
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) (4+ doses): 81.8%
Combined 7-vaccine series: 70.7%
Now I want to take a moment to also clarify that even though most states in the U.S. have required vaccinations for children before entering school, there are also some loopholes that allow parents to legally NOT vaccinate their children. It would take too long to include this information in this article but you can look them over and learn other valuable information by following the link I have provided. https://vaccinecentral.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/are-vaccines-mandatory/
Then, in 1998 the anti vaccine movement received an international booster shot of its own due to a study in the British Journal The Lancet, that asserted a connection between vaccines and autism in children. Specifically the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine) and due to highly sensationalized media coverage, it scared the hell out of a lot of parents, and would be parents. The anti vaccinators hit the streets in protest and outrage, vaccinations plummeted. But here is what they did not know at the time.
The study involved just 12 children, and turned out to be filled with serious flaws—and even contained what was deemed falsified data. By 2010 the study had been completely retracted, and even denounced by some involved with the study itself, but the damage was already done.
Even though the connection between the MMR vaccine and autism remains not only unproven, but denounced by experts in numerous studies, people still believe it exists. Based on this (and other) flawed and outright unsubstantiated study people are not vaccinating their children with the MMR vaccine. This of course led to an increase in the cases of primarily measles. The following PBS article contains a time line describing these events as they unfolded at the time. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/autism-vaccine-myth/
It is an unfortunate truth though that with a plethora of studies contradicting other studies. And of course the simple fact that some people will just flat out not change their minds no matter how much evidence you present, children are still not getting vaccinated against these diseases.
2019. Two states, Washington and now Oregon are in a state of emergency due to an outbreak and spread of you guessed it... measles.
This is not our first outbreak either since people stopped vaccinating their children against measles with the MMR inoculation. Unvaccinated people have been to blame for every outbreak according to the CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html
It seems like a no brainer. As a whole with few exceptions, people who have been vaccinated against diseases like the measles... don't get the measles. And those who have not been vaccinated not only contract the infection, but will spread it to any other unvaccinated person they come in contact with causing an outbreak. If you have enough unvaccinated people infected they can create an epidemic. If the infection spreads to a large enough area it becomes a pandemic. This all of course results in a massive strain on our medical institutions. And of course we must consider the suffering that comes along with these infections like the measles, it can be very, very bad.
Measles primarily infects children so all of this can be prevented by simply vaccinating them, and I can not help but wonder why any parent would risk putting their child through that due to what has been widely denounced as a myth (concerning MMR) in the medical community. (Please see authors note at bottom of page)
But for many, its just not that simple. For whatever reasons and its not for me to say whether they are valid or not because these are not my children, they choose not to vaccinate them. Now getting into that philosophical debate most definitely will not fit into this article so I will post some links for your perusing at the bottom of the page for both sides.
For me, and what seems to be the majority of Americans given the data, it is more a question of public safety than personal choice. As mentioned earlier, it is not the vaccinated people who contract and spread the infection, and those people make up the vast majority of the public here in the U.S. It is of course the small (but growing at an alarming rate) population of unvaccinated people who contract the infection that do.
I know the argument. "Well vaccinated people don't have to worry do they?"
I personally believe that to be a very self serving statement since we people tend to travel a lot into areas that may not have the same protections that the U.S. has and the results can be devastating. Not to mention what we may bring back with us.
Not vaccinating our children against diseases is putting them at a much greater risk of contracting that disease. This is a fact. So whether or not to vaccinate our children has very little to do with science and a whole lot to do with morality.
Even though we are their parents, do we have the right to subject them to that risk? I mean after all, we are not the ones who have to go through the agony and suffering that many of these diseases can cause, its the children who have to endure those things and it is almost 100% preventable, they DO NOT have to go through that if they are simply given a vaccination. I made the decision to vaccinate my children because in my own moral compass, no, I do not have that right. Furthermore, I saw it as my responsibility as a father to vaccinate them, to protect them.
My children were born during and after all of the reports and studies mentioned in this article so I had all of the information. To me, the benefits far outweighed all of the mostly now debunked risks.
But, that is a decision we all have to make for ourselves.
Its a different world today though with the influx of illegal immigrants coming up from Mexico and Central America. (If they are legal, then they have had their shots so to speak because it is required to enter our country.)
Many of the illegals who are caught are turning up with numerous highly infectious diseases. How many who are not caught are carrying these diseases into our communities, into our schools where our children are concentrated into enclosed spaces that are breeding grounds for infection, how many?
Is your child protected?
With infectious disease, without vaccines, there's no safety in numbers. ~Seth Berkley
Authors note: There are many parents around the world who have children that are believed to have been harmed by the administration of vaccines. Leaving them with serious physical and developmental disorders that will last throughout their lives. Due to concerns for privacy and my unwillingness to risk causing any other type of harm, along with what I consider a serious lack of evidence either way, not mentioning them in this article was intentional.