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The importance of vaccinations

posted Mar 4, 2015, 11:17 AM by stu.jessicamies@usd356.org

Vaccines are considered one of the greatest health developments of the 20th century. Scientists have now created vaccines for polio, tetanus, HPV, hepatitis A and B, rubella, mumps, measles and more.

This year, there has been an outbreak of the measles. Symptoms of measles include a hacking cough, runny nose, high fever, red eyes and a full body rash. According to the Center for Disease Control, the 113 cases of measles have been traced back to Disneyland in California. Now, why are so many people getting this virus that, according to the CDC, was considered eliminated in the Americas in 2002?

Some modern day parents don’t feel the need to vaccinate their kids. They buy into myths about vaccines that are all over the Internet. In 1998, a British surgeon, Andrew Wakefield, wrote a fraudulent story linking vaccines to autism. Later studies have proven it to be false, yet some parents still try and cling to the idea (CDC).

Some parents won’t vaccinate their children on the risk that they could catch the virus from the vaccine itself. Products commonly found in vaccines, according to the CDC, include a suspending fluid, preservatives, enhancers, and possibly  very small amounts of material to grow the virus or bacteria used in the vaccine. If parents won’t vaccinate their children because they don’t want their children to catch the virus from the vaccine, they should realize that the kids still have the risk to get the virus from an outside source.

Another side of the spectrum is the children who can not be vaccinated because they are either too young or their immune system isn't strong enough for the vaccine due to a previous illness. These issues can be solved with herd immunity. Herd immunity is when those that cannot be vaccinated are protected because they are surrounded by those who can be vaccinated, thus drastically reducing the number of people they could potentially catch the disease from.

If parents have access to vaccinations and their kids are healthy enough to receive them, then they should take advantage of it. If not, they are risking their children’s and other children’s health. Children attending school must, by law, be vaccinated against certain diseases, unless their parents obtain a waiver. Though I agree with the necessity for medical and religious exemptions, I believe that all other children should be vaccinated.
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