Taking a shot at the anti-vaxxers

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Daniel Maibenco, Columnist

 

Last month, it was reported that there was an outbreak of the measles virus in Disneyland California. Originally there were only a few cases and the treatments were ongoing. Now the number of cases has grown to almost 100 and spread to at least 14 states. Most if not all of the infected are young children.

For good reason, this issue has been mired in controversy. What makes this virus so unusual is that measles has not existed inside the United States for at least 10 years. No one knows how it has re-entered the country.

But the more pressing issue at hand is the issue of vaccination. The virus has spread out of California to several other states because parents refused to vaccinate their children for the virus. People are worried that with many parents refusing to vaccinate their children for measles, it will spread across the country.

The issue of vaccination is nothing new, but with this new unforeseen measles outbreak, the topic is once again relevant.

Parents who support children getting vaccinated argue that those who refuse to get their kids vaccinated are only putting people at risk. At places such as schools and daycares, it would only take one cough or sneeze from a sick child to infect others. The virus can linger on surfaces or be airborne for about two hours or longer after coughing or sneezing.

But, there is also another side to this argument. Parents who are against the measles vaccine use many different arguments to base their decision. These parents fear that the vaccine will cause their child to develop autism or some sort of neurological disorder.

Some even argue that the vaccines could cause cancer. These parents say that they are afraid for their children and are fearful of vaccination. They feel like they are making a logical decision based on sometimes-illogical thinking.

While all these parents are concerned regarding the various aspects of the disease and the accompanying side effects, only one group wants to make the correct decision. That group is the pro-vaccination parents.

I believe that children as well as adults need to be vaccinated for the measles because it is the safe and logical thing to do. Science has proved that the vaccines are crucial to the prevention as well as the spread of a wide variety of diseases.

I also support vaccination because there is no concrete evidence to support the argument that vaccines cause autism or any other major health problem. The government and every credible medical professional argues for and supports vaccination. Yet many people are afraid and or unwilling to vaccinate their kids based on unfounded beliefs that are not based on facts.

While the issue of vaccination may seem like a small or insignificant matter, the truth of the matter is this: children and adults need to be vaccinated because it saves lives.

The vaccination debate has become so political and troublesome that the state of California is proposing legislation to mandate that all schoolchildren be vaccinated. Many parents still will not vaccinate their children, even when faced with the scientific facts and possible life-threatening consequences.

I know that all parents want what is best for their kids, but they need to be smart and rational. A family can be scared of the risks of vaccination, but shouldn’t they be more worried about risk of not getting vaccinations? What would they say if their child got sick from the measles?

This issue is extremely simple, yet so very sensitive. The risk of contracting measles seems to be constantly growing, but it is relatively small when compared with drowning or poisonings. Getting vaccinated is a no-brainer so I encourage all parents to use their intelligence to prevent a possible epidemic from occurring in the future.