Growing up as the daughter of a nurse, I was taught to be a very health-conscious person. My mom always made sure we were at the top of our health game, especially when it came to our vaccines.

I vividly remember getting our flu shots as a family every year. While I used to complain back then, I am now extremely grateful that my mom chose to vaccinate us not only for little things like the flu, but all the vaccines that every child should have.

I have seen multiple videos and posts on Facebook about how "vaccines cause autism" or other horrible diseases and illness. I would like to shine the light on this issue in the most educated way possible.

Vaccines are meant to introduce one's body to an illness so that it can develop antibodies to fight off the illness if it is ever encountered again. Sounds like a great idea, right? That's because it is.

In my abnormal psychology class last year, my professor told us the story about how the supposed link between vaccines and autism/other illnesses came about. A medical researcher by the name of Andrew Wakefield originally "conducted studies" in 1998 on a possible link to autism and bowel disease caused by the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (commonly known as the MMR vaccine). He published a paper with his findings.

Many medical researchers tried to replicate his findings and could not. It was eventually found out that his data was faked and his entire paper and experiment was a fraud, but by that time, it was too late. The paper was out there and taking over the media by storm.

Ever since, thousands of medical professionals and public health agencies have attempted to spread the word that there is no known link between vaccines and illnesses, but the public chooses not to listen.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has released statement upon statement that there have been studies done revealing that there is no link between vaccine and illnesses. Autism Speaks, an organization that often tries to get the word out about autism, has it stated on their website under the causes of autism that there is no link.

The biggest problem with this ongoing debate is that people are unwilling to listen, putting our society at risk. We are seeing an increase of illnesses that are rare or had previously been eradicated completely due to parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. We share videos and articles on Facebook from unreliable sources and people believe what they see without checking the facts first.

There are so many sources out there if you have questions on vaccination. The CDC has an entire page dedicated to parents who are unsure of vaccinating their children. We are so quick to believe things we hear without doing research and it is causing damage to our society.

So please, do yourself and our society a favor. If you hear something, read something or see something on this subject, do the research before passing it along.