August Is National Immunization Awareness Month, Here's Why That Matters
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Health and Wellness

August Is National Immunization Awareness Month, So Anti-Vaxxers I Have Some Words For You

As a future healthcare professional, a student, and the daughter of someone who is immunocompromised, I just have one question for you.

August Is National Immunization Awareness Month, So Anti-Vaxxers I Have Some Words For You

When you imagine the world without vaccines, what do you see?

Close your eyes, imagine the world in without the vaccines that have protected you up to this point. Life without the polio vaccine, life without the chickenpox vaccine, life without the vaccine for the flu, measles, mumps, hepatitis, HPV (optional but recommended), and tetanus.

I see a world that looks much worse than the world we see right now with the loss of a single vaccine.

As of August 13, 2020, there are 5,176,018 cases of COVID-19 in the United States alone (according to the CDC). That means, one disease without a vaccine has infected over 5 million people. This is the world without one vaccine.

It is my personal opinion that anti-vaxxers have no idea what their controversial (and often fueled by wildly incorrect statistics) opinions do beyond Facebook arguments in the comments section. This is not a cute little argument that people can screenshot and talk about later.

This is my mom's life — she's immunocompromised — and your decision not to vaccinate your child puts her at risk.

Your decision not to vaccinate your child is selfish. You put every single child around yours at risk and every single person with a compromised immune system at risk. Can you look at someone and determine if they are immunocompromised? Can you tell? No. You can't. Vaccinate your child.

To address the concerns that are often cited regarding vaccines:

1. No, that vaccine will not cause your child to have autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder is not something you can catch (unlike the diseases you aren't vaccinating against). Furthermore, the study once cited by celebrities has been discredited, and others have come out proving that your child will not be autistic if they get vaccinated. If you don't believe me, check out this website from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. If that isn't good enough for you, think about everyone you know with vaccines — do they all have autism spectrum disorder? I highly doubt it.

2. No, vaccines are not toxic

I've seen people compare vaccines to so many different chemicals. Vaccines are usually made up of salt, inactivated virus, sugar, and a couple of liquids. If you are concerned about the ingredients in vaccines, the CDC releases ingredient lists of vaccines. You can actually look it up yourself. There is no antifreeze in your vaccine. The doctors you have are not suggesting you inject your child with the ingredients in bleach. They just aren't. This argument is literally proven wrong all the time.

3. The virus in the vaccine is inactivated (dead)

Dead viruses cannot infect a person. Don't argue this. It's literally taught in every biology class. The doctor is not going to give your child the flu. Dead viruses allow your body to recognize the antigens (markers) and create antibodies (defenders) against the virus. It actually helps your child's immune system. Your child is not immune to the flu when they are born — I promise. They have no reason to be immune to meningitis (unless you experienced an illness during your pregnancy). Immune systems are adaptable and they constantly improve.

Here's the thing. Herd immunity is real. I'm not arguing it isn't, but at least 80-90 percent of people need to be immune to protect those who cannot build up immunity or cannot get vaccines. If you are anti-vaxx, do you trust your doctor? Would you really believe your doctor is suggesting that they do not understand or trust could help?

I just don't understand how you can be against something that saves lives.

The arguments that most share have been disproven. The science proves that vaccines had essentially eradicated some of the diseases that are back due to the anti-vaxx movement. Please explain to me what scientific proof you have that not vaccinating your child will be better than vaccinations. I can't understand why you would risk someone else's life based on fake articles, facts that have been disproven, and Facebook comments.

Your decision to be anti-vaxx hurts my life. We haven't met. We probably never will. You barely know what I look like. You know I'm a student. Your decision to be anti-vaxx has resulted in increased caution because my mom would get extremely sick because of your decision. There are little kids that can't attend kindergarten because your child could kill them. Maybe your kid has been healthy but carriers don't always exhibit the symptoms of the disease.

All I ask is you think of others, and do proper research.

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