Vaccinations are one of the most important medical breakthroughs in history. They have been credited with eradicating diseases such as smallpox, and have made the regular contraction of polio, hepatitis A/B, measles, mumps, rubella and other diseases in the United States nearly impossible.
Making sure your children are vaccinated is arguably one of the safest and smartest things you can do for them. However, a group of people have come out to fight against this medical treasure: the anti-vaccine movement.
The modern anti-vaccine movement began with Andrew Wakefield, a medical researcher and former gastroenterologist who published a research study in the Lancet, a well-respected medical journal. His study found a link between the measles, mumps, the rubella vaccine and autism. This is where the idea that “vaccines cause autism,” originates and that anti-vaccine followers frequently cite.
“It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors, but in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data,” said Fiona Godlee, British Medical Journal’s editor-in-chief, for a column in CNN.
The issue with the anti-vaccine movement is that it puts at risk the very people they want to protect—their children. By spreading this false fear, children have died from preventable diseases and more will continue to die. These people preach for the use of safer vaccinations and less rigorous vaccine schedules, but do not actually have science to prove their arguments. As a result, they end up just becoming a hazard and danger to the general population.
According to the CDC, early, quick and multiple vaccinations are recommended for infants and small children. The sooner they are vaccinated, the sooner they are protected from life threatening diseases. The idea that the infant’s immune system can be “overloaded,” with vaccines is not based on fact. Infants and children are exposed to hundreds of foreign substances daily. Both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that the current immunization schedule is safe and effective.
These problems will just continue to get bigger, especially with skepticism from President Donald Trump. Recently, Trump had a meeting with a well know anti-vaccine advocate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and there is something gravely unnerving about the president discussing public health issues with someone who is known to be against vaccinations. Although the president has yet to act on this, the consequences of not agreeing with the facts could be at the expense of the health of the public.
Vaccinations are not something that should be viewed as optional or debatable for children. Science and facts do not lie and the research continually shows that vaccines are safe and lifesaving. Anyone who thinks otherwise should actually listen the medical professionals we rely on every day and not aimlessly spew damaging and harmful propaganda that has and will kill more children.
-John Lee is a marketing sophomore