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Vaccinate your children

By Karina Cashman
Contributing Writer

Diseases thought to be all but eradicated have made a sudden but unfortunate comeback thanks to a popularized movement bolstered primarily by fear, misconception, and a lack of education. The anti-vaccine movement garners attention primarily from the belief that vaccines can be linked to autism – despite multiple credible sources claiming otherwise. This belief stems from a 1998 paper published by Andrew Wakefield, who assumed there was a correlation between the recent growth of autism at the time and the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine which could impact 90% of children. Wakefield made this assumption without thorough researching both vaccinated and unvaccinated children, so in the end this study was retracted and deemed fraudulent due to a lack of research as well as misrepresented data. A second study was done by Wakefield on the measles virus, but further data indicated many corners were cut and that bias was present in the study.  Overall, Wakefield’s research is disregarded today due to procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interest and ethical violations.
Multiple sources, including the NRVS, the CDC, Autism Speaks, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and others all claim vaccines do not cause autism. Endless studies have appeared over the years backing up this data. Still though, the supporters of this anti-vaccination movement remain adamant that vaccines do cause autism, and more than that, they would rather leave their children unprotected.
In cases surrounding this movement, parents would choose to keep their child unvaccinated despite the risk it poses to themselves and others. Not only would the unvaccinated children be negatively affected, but those in society with compromised immune systems or immunodeficiency disorders are at greater risk of contracting diseases, even if they have already been vaccinated.
Still, those who refuse to vaccinate often argue that even when they don’t, their kids don’t get sick. This may be due to levels of high vaccination in the area. If the majority of the population is vaccinated, the disease can be contained, but the more people who support this movement, the more society is put at risk.
Many diseases that have been eradicated, nearly eradicated or constrained into a weaker version of what it once was due to vaccinations are making a comeback, particularly where the anti-vaccination movement is taking off.
Now let’s consider for a moment what all of this means. Even though it has been widely proven that vaccines do not cause autism, let’s pretend for a moment that they do. The supporters of this movement would rather have a dead child than an autistic one. Parents are willing to gamble the lives of both their children and others simply so that their kids don’t risk getting autism. This means that the dislike and fear for autistic people goes so deep that many would rather their children be put in early graves.
The root problem of this movement lies in ignorance, fear, hatred and a lack of education and acceptance. The anti-vaccination movement is one that would prefer America to run into the ground and an early grave rather than look at credible sources. It is a movement that would rather leave a dead child than a special needs one, one that is negatively impacting far more lives than simply those of the unvaccinated children. What are supporters of the anti-vaccination movement truly saying with their stance? That a dead child is better than an autistic one? The thought is revolting, insulting and unthinkable. If you don’t agree, then you may be a part of the problem.

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