Unless you get all your news from a 16th-century town courier, you've probably heard that measles are making a comeback in the state of Washington. Measles, a disease that was completely eradicated in the United States in 2000, is now making a comeback, and it seems like the anti-vaccination (anti-vax) movement is the root of the problem.

The anti-vax movement has existed since the first vaccination, but it became huge in the 90s with Andrew Wakefield stating that vaccines are linked to autism. Parents across the world latched onto this claim and started turning their children away from modern medicine.

The doctor was proven wrong and subsequently lost his medical license, but the movement hasn't completely died down. There are plenty of skeptics today that still believe vaccines will give their kids autism.

To those, I have one question: even if vaccines did cause autism (and they don't), how would having a child on the autistic spectrum be worse than having that child die of preventable disease? People on the autism spectrum are not somehow lesser just because they might be different than the neurotypical person. Being anti-vax, for this reason, makes it seem like you base the value of your child on their ability rather than their personality or what they bring to your life.

Many people are also opposed to vaccines because they don't understand how it works. Don't worry, vaccines weren't created with the intention to harm anyone; vaccines were created to protect us.

Basically, each vaccine contains an immunogen, usually a deadened strain of the virus of interest. It can't hurt you (unless you are legitimately allergic, which is a different story) by being inside your body. In fact, your body responds to them and builds up antibodies for them, so that if you do happen to catch a similar strain later, you have a layer of protection.

Another common reason for not getting vaccinations is the fact that sometimes people who are not vaccinated just never get sick. However, this is usually the work of herd immunity. Frequently, people who are not vaccinated are in the company of people who are vaccinated, and they are protected by just being around the immune individuals. They don't get sick because no one is catching and spreading a disease to them.

It's luck, not proof that vaccinations are evil.

If you are still anti-vax after doing proper research on vaccinations, I honestly don't know what to tell you. Maybe take into consideration the recent story on Ethan Lindenberger, a young adult who got vaccinated on his 18th birthday against his parents' wishes because he was concerned for his own health. At the end of the day, it's your decision if you want to be vaccinated. Just know that if you choose not to, you might be catching more than just the measles. (And, you won't be able to enjoy the onslaught of anti-vax memes like the rest of us.)