Jenny McCarthy. Jim Carrey. Donald Trump. All three have either espoused anti-vax views or acted as mouthpieces for the movements. The anti-vaccination movement has a relatively large following in the United States; Around 30% of all Americans either say the risks involved are either medium or high. This is alarming. Vaccines have created a society in which we can roam freely without the threat of debilitating or fatal diseases like polio, Measles, or mumps. Without them, kids will suffer.

Most people know what vaccines are; an injection involving a weakened or even killed-off strain of a disease-causing agent, such as bacteria or viruses. This concept was first explored in the 18th century, when Edward Jenner vaccinated a child against smallpox with cowpox, which granted the child resistance to the disease. This was revolutionary; people young and old had died as a result of these diseases prior to this point, so finding a means through which people could avoid even having the disease in the first place would be momentous. Jonas Salk went even further, developing the first polio vaccine back in the '50s. They helped lead to the immense decrease or even the “eradication” of diseases such as polio and smallpox, as well as others.

Now? They are making a comeback.

Since 2010, there have been over 1,000 cases of measles. Keeping in mind the disease was officially considered to be eradicated in the United States in 2000, this is a drastic uptick in the number of people who’ve contracted the disease. A lot of it can be attributed to people from other nations who have not been vaccinated, as well as individuals here. Another disease experiencing a resurgence here is mumps. In 2016, nearly 6400 individuals contracted the disease, compared to just 229 FIVE YEARS AGO. This skepticism in vaccines, whether it be from a religious perspective, a “scientific” (dare I say pseudoscientific) perspective, or even just a plain conspiracy theory, is unfounded.

Vaccines have led to an overall healthier society. No, the government is not masterminding a plot for population control. No, the chemicals inside the vaccines are safe (formaldehyde, for example, is synthesized in the body as well).

Another bit to consider; kids with compromised immune systems. Kids who are currently suffering from debilitating diseases or cannot receive vaccines depend on the idea of herd mentality, or the concept of a society in which people who CANNOT be vaccinated are protected due to the overall high vaccination rates of a society. Now? Kids are at higher risk. Kids can die from these diseases. That is simply unacceptable, and these conspiracies are bunk. They make no sense and contradict ALL lines of research done by a multitude of scientists.

Vaccines have improved our society as a whole, making us healthier overall and protecting us from many diseases. We now find ourselves in a society that has far more unhealthy skepticism about the method. It is to the detriment of our society.

Do yourself, your child(ren) and others a service. Get vaccinated ASAP.