Life is filled with decisions: what to eat, what to wear, what to believe, where to work, who to be friends with, where to go to school, where to live, etc. Choices belong to the individual who makes them and should not be made for us by the government or any similar force. Part of our freedom as human beings and Americans allows us to make decisions for ourselves without being forced down one path or the other, except in cases of legality. However, once a choice has the potential to cause a public health issue then something must be done.
Vaccinate your children, please. This is not a plea to create a law to demand vaccination for everyone; this is a plea to realize the harm that can come from not vaccinating children.
Herd immunity, also known as community immunity, is when 90-95 percent of the community is protected against a highly contagious disease, allowing the entire population to be protected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Herd immunity protects those who do not have immunity. The CDC suggests vaccinating your baby against 14 serious childhood diseases, and while it is not a legal mandate, the majority of public schools and daycares will not enroll students who have not received the DTaP (protects against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough), chicken pox, polio and measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccines. These guidelines for enrollment are in place to protect the other children in the school or daycare. If you don’t want to vaccinate your children, don’t enroll them in a setting where they could infect, or be infected by, other children.
In early September of this year, there were 150 suspected and confirmed cases of mumps in the Springdale and Rogers school districts in Northwest Arkansas, according to 5newsonline.com. A total of 19 Northwest Arkansas elementary and high schools had students with reported mumps symptoms. Both students with the symptoms and students with MMR vaccine exemptions were sent home. The CDC has guidelines that require unvaccinated students to stay out of school for 26 days after the last case of reported symptoms. When someone chooses to not vaccinate his children, he is endangering his family and other children. Those without health insurance are not able to treat their children, or themselves, effectively if they become sick with a preventable infection.
Despite scientific data refuting the theories, some people believe that there are medical links between vaccinations and autism, ADHD, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma and diabetes because of some of the ingredients in vaccines. While these ingredients, including thimerosal, formaldehyde and aluminum, can be harmful in large doses, vaccinations have a safe amount in them, according to CDC. The amount of aluminum in vaccination doses is under 1 milligram.
For example, aluminum is used in vaccines to boost the immune response to that vaccine, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). This allows for fewer required doses of the vaccination because the one dose is more effective. Aluminum is not used in vaccines such as MMR and rotavirus, according to CHOP. “ Breast-fed infants ingest about seven milligrams, formula-fed infants ingest about 38 milligrams, and infants who are fed soy formula ingest almost 117 milligrams of aluminum during the first six months of life,” according to CHOP.
Over the last 20 years, there have been extensive studies conducted to test the hypothesis of the link between autism and the MMR vaccination. The results showed no connections, according to both the CDC and autismspeaks.org.
“Scientific research has not directly connected autism to vaccines,” Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks said in 2015. “Vaccines are very important. Parents must make the decision whether to vaccinate their children. Efforts must be continually made to educate parents about vaccine safety. If parents decide not to vaccinate they must be aware of the consequences in their community and their local schools.”
Parents must make an educated choice for their children and there should not be a legal mandate on the decision. Newborn’s and children’s immune systems are more susceptible to infection and are less able to fight off diseases and infections that mature immune systems can fight. Protecting your children against diseases that could complicate their health or even fatally harm them, or others, is vital to their adult health.
Booster shots are available for adults who want to re-boost their immune system to protect against infections. The CDC recommends getting a booster shot for tetanus and diphtheria vaccine every 10 years. Health is something human beings can control and keep in check. We cannot take that for granted.
Image via www.vaccine-info.com