There's been a lot of buzz in the news lately about people getting exemptions from vaccines. Some for religious reasons, some for medical reasons, you name it. I came across an article in my hometown paper discussing the impact of vaccine exemptions and discussing the rising number in exemptions. Below are some things everyone needs to understand about vaccinations.
Vaccines do not cause autism. This has been discussed in many of my classes. Andrew Wakefield, a researcher and a doctor, published false research that claimed that vaccines caused autism. More and more studies were done, and it has been proven that there is no correlation between the two. This man lost his doctorate because of his false information. Although it has been proven wrong, his theory still seems to stick well in the minds of readers. I promise you, vaccines do not, and will not, ever cause autism.
Most major religions are not actually anti-vaccination. According to an article written from whyimmunize.org, a researcher found that most major religions (the only exception being the Dutch Reformed Church) are actually pro-vaccination. It's actually a really interesting article and website.
Vaccines are safe. I promise. The vaccine puts a small dosage of the disease into the body (just enough for the body to recognize it) so that when more of that disease enters the body, it knows how to fight it off already. This prevents the disease from actually happening in the body. Check out this short video from TED-Ed about how vaccines work:
Not getting vaccinated affects the people around you, too. There was a mumps outbreak in my school earlier this year. Five were vaccinated, two were not. The problem with not getting vaccinated is that by the time the virus has reached someone who was actually vaccinated, it has mutated. The virus that the body was trained to fight off has changed into a different kind of that virus, and the body hasn't had a chance to learn how to fight it off. That means that even people who are vaccinated can get a disease if they are around people who have not been vaccinated. A quick google search of the herd effect can give you a little more insight on this.
Some people are truly not able to be vaccinated. There's a small portion of people that are actually allergic to vaccinations because of the base that it's put in. This is where the herd effect comes into play. If every single person around the one that can't be vaccinated is vaccinated, that person has a better chance of staying safe. If other people, including that person, are not vaccinated, they can be seriously affected by the disease. People with religious exemptions are taking away the protection that vaccines provide for those who can't actually be vaccinated.
Folks, it's so important to be fully vaccinated. It can save lives and prevent diseases that would hurt a lot of people. Please reach out to a doctor or do a little research if you have any misconceptions or worries about vaccinating. I promise you that it is worth your while.
On a lighter note, here's a funny video I was shown about what would happen if anti-vaccine parents rode the Magic School Bus. It shows this controversial topic in a more positive, light-hearted way, and who doesn't love the Magic School Bus!?
Special thanks to Michael Bechtel, my science professor, for teaching me everything I know. I'm a better, more educated person because of him.