The standards of vaccination studies and practices have extensively changed throughout the course of the last century, as advancement in medical technology has propelled our research and medicine. Before the 1900s, diseases were much more deadly. For instance, tuberculosis, as anyone exposed, would be diagnosed with a terminal illness and would be expected to die. In the 1900s, this all began to change as medicine was taking its first steps, and vaccines were being created and perfected as time went on. Now in the modern world, it does not take us very long to perfect a vaccine if a new strand of disease comes out.
Whether children should be mandatorily vaccinated has been a subject of interest and controversy for the past couple of years, as some people have grown to believe that if children are vaccinated, there is an increase in the risk of their child presenting neurological problems in the future. This idea stimulated and grew like wildfire as parents gained the misconception of too many vaccines, or the strength of the chemicals would cause damage to the central nervous system. There have been countless articles and research that supports the idea and hypothesis that vaccines do not cause neurological damage.
If anything, not vaccinating one’s child can increase the risk of the child dying from simple diseases that stopped killing humans centuries ago, as these diseases still linger but are harmless due to the number of precautions that vaccines give. Between the 1900s and today, vaccines have significantly changed. Now they are more accessible, prevent deaths, and make a good chance that the virus or disease does not return. The vaccination of children should become mandatory because it keeps children protected from illnesses that derive from vaccine-preventable diseases. Additionally, it has been scientifically proven to be safe, and it protects others by not endangering public health and future generations.
There is a large variety of different vaccinations that must be given to a child in order for them to be fully protected from the diseases and viruses that once affected humans. As Gerber and Offit would suggest: “Three specific hypotheses have been proposed: (1) the combination measles-mumps-rubella vaccine causes autism by damaging the intestinal lining, which allows the entrance of encephalopathic proteins; (2) thimerosal, an ethylmercury-containing preservative in some vaccines, is toxic to the central nervous system; and (3) the simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines overwhelms or weakens the immune system” (Gerber & Offit). With this being said, over the years, different ideas and conspiracies have been formed against the vaccination of children, all of them as bad as the last and worrying parents of running the risk of their child having autism with the number of different vaccines given to a child.
Furthermore, vaccines and neurological damage have been proven to have no relation. In this very same article a little bit further down, referring to table 1 in the article, contains 14 different studies that support the idea that vaccinations of measles, mumps, rubella do not associate with the formation of autism in the central nervous system and hinder any form of development both physically and mentally. According to Gerber and Offit: “Several issues undermine the interpretation by Wakefield et al.  of this case series. First, the self-referred cohort did not include control subjects, which precluded the authors from determining whether the occurrence of autism following receipt of MMR vaccine was causal or coincidental” (Gerber & Offit). This would indicate that the study conducted to support the idea that vaccines cause autism, was done incorrectly and in a manner that if other experimenters tried to replicate the study done the correct way, the outcomes would be very different and more in favor that autism and the vaccination of children do not correlate.
Moreover, the misconception of vaccines causing autism keeps people from vaccinating their children and puts everyone at risk. The increase in autism cases can be attributed to the broadening of the symptom parameters as the attention given to autism, its effects on the human mind, and how it changes the development of a child indefinitely, has been the center of many health organizations across the globe. Gerber and Offit would argue that: “A worldwide increase in the rate of autism diagnoses—likely driven by broadened diagnostic criteria and increased awareness—has fueled concerns that an environmental exposure like vaccines might cause autism. Theories for this putative association have centered on the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, thimerosal, and the large number of vaccines currently administered. However, both epidemiological and biological studies fail to support these claims” (Gerber & Offit). It would almost seem as if scientists are trying to force a causal and correlational relationship between vaccinations in children and the increasing epidemic of autism cases globally as, throughout the decade, evidence keeps compiling debunking the correlation between vaccines in children and autism.
The vaccination of children is beneficial because it keeps children protected from severe illnesses that can be prevented by vaccines. A child without proper vaccinations can lead to a variety of severe health risks and fatalities, all from a simple and obsolete disease that was eradicated centuries ago. As explained by Williamson, “Smallpox exists now almost by sufferance, but owing to neglect, or to the inefficient practice of vaccination, 1,320 deaths by smallpox were registered” (Williamson). Smallpox was a disease that used to kill humans, and ever since the vaccines were created for it, it has not affected us at all except for cases in which parents decide not to vaccinate their kids because they believe it will stunt their neurological growth. The same goes for any disease that used to have excruciating effects on humans, most of these diseases were eradicated centuries ago, although they still linger, they do not cause us any harm if we have the proper vaccinations.
The immunization of children additionally benefits society as a whole by protecting our public health. As seen now in modern society, all it takes is one person to get sick with a new disease to infect the rest of the world and slowly spread across nations like wildfire; the same would go for diseases such as smallpox and measles. Without the proper vaccination, that child could get the disease at any point in time, touching anything or even going to school with other children who already had their vaccinations. As explained by ‘Five Important Reasons’, “it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones” (Five Important Reasons). It could go without saying that not getting proper vaccinations in a child can put the wider public at risk because not all are eligible to receive vaccinations whatever the reason may be, this could be said about any disease, if the proper vaccinations are available, one should always get them so the public can be safer and the spread of the disease can be at a minimum.
Another benefit that comes from the vaccination of children is that it can protect future generations. There have been many diseases in the past that have almost eradicated entire cities or nations, at this very moment there is a global virus that is killing thousands of people every day but once a vaccine is produced it is widely given until the virus does not exist anymore or there are little cases. This can be said about diseases, for example, such as smallpox and measles, which the vaccines were created centuries ago, and they have not affected the public health as severe as they once did. Five Important Reasons goes on to add. “If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future (Five Important Reasons). Once a vaccine is created, it would imply that the disease or virus will no longer exist to threaten humans ever again, parents and children should not have to worry about diseases that have long since been eradicated and made obsolete.
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Because technology has advanced dramatically in the last 100 years throughout history, so has medicine, now that we live in a modern world science has been able to manage ways to fight back diseases. The medical system, how vaccines are produced and created, and vaccines programs have changed tremendously comparing the early 1900s to now.
In the 1900s, vaccines were starting to be introduced into the public to try and decrease infancy deaths, and children were exposed to many different invisible dangers that were only preventable by vaccinations. As explained by Gardner and Turner: “Rather precipitous decline began in this death rate, • which, even with the introduction of penicillin in about 1940, and the Salk polio vaccine in the early 1950s, continued at the same rate until a leveling-off point about 1960” (Gardner 358). With this advancement of medicine, doctors were able to suppress deaths with these vaccinations, and fighting infancy is adolescent death expanding the average lifespan. With these widely accepted vaccinations, deaths were even more preventable, and the likeliness of getting infected also drastically dropped. Gardner and Turner go on to explain: “was the introduction during the 20th century of vaccination campaigns in the United States, which have virtually eliminated previously common diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, polio, smallpox (considered to be eliminated worldwide), measles, mumps, rubella, and Hemophilus influenzae meningitis” (Gardner & Turner 359). With this being said, now that these diseases were now preventable, the public would begin to not worry about being infected as much as they used to, deaths were now avoidable entirely, and the number of deaths would continue to drop through the decades. With the widespread of vaccines through the ages, this would mean that vaccines were more accessible to the public as the number of cases for infectious diseases kept dropping as the decades passed. Now that they were more accessible to the public, this would undoubtedly strengthen the advancement of vaccines and the push to discover more.
Now in modern times, with the strength of our medicine and research, diseases that killed off much of the population in the 1800s and 1900s would not affect our population at all today due to the many different vaccines that exist in today’s medicine. As Barninghausen et al. would go on to explain: “The prevention of disease and death through vaccination is commonly regarded as one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Globally, coverage with all major vaccinations has drifted up since 2000. Today more than 100 million children are vaccinated annually against diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, tuberculosis, polio, measles, and hepatitis B” (Barninghausen et al., 12313). At the start of the 2000s, deaths by diseases that flourished in the 1900s have almost all been eradicated due to the advancement of modern medicine. Most infectious diseases are now utterly preventable if the proper vaccinations were given out. In modern times any and all vaccines for these infectious diseases are widely accessible to the public as a vaccinations program was put in place so that any family coming through a hospital or pediatrician would have access to these vaccines. As Nesson would further delve into, according to Oliver Rosenbauer, WHO communications officer for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, “the more people who are immunized, the less possibility that the virus will spread, because there will be fewer people for it to spread to.” Though vaccinations have proven effective at reducing deaths from entirely preventable diseases, 18.7 million infants throughout the world still do not receive vaccines” (Nesson, 18). With this being said, ever since vaccinations of infectious diseases were introduced, the amount of deaths has drastically decreased, and the further advancement of these vaccinations would go on to make immunization a must in the modern world.
One of the most popular believes among the anti-vaccination community is that putting chemicals in their children’s bodies would cause a complication in the neurological system leaving their children with some disorder. As Comprehensive Primary Care states: “according to the study, some parents feel that there’s a benefit to allowing kids to experience childhood illnesses to boost immunity. Parents may also be concerned about putting chemicals in their children’s bodies and feel that vaccines are not “natural” enough” (Spark & Market). This, in all cases, would be a substantial factor if it was scientifically backed, but fortunately, it is not supported by the scientific community, therefore debunked. These chemicals would not be put into one’s body if not rigorously tested in the scientific community and made sure that no adverse side effects would ensue onto a child that is less than four years old.
A less famous but equally as influential reason would be that of religious reasons such as the parent’s religion rejecting some chemicals or even the vaccination as a whole saying it is unholy to subject to such treatments. There are some states and some specific religions that ban the use of vaccinations on children stating they are unholy or something god did not create for the child deeming it unnecessary and evil. As Comprehensive Primary Care explains: “Many states (including Virginia) offer parents a religious exemption to the vaccination requirement for attending public school. In some cases, a patient’s religious beliefs may lead them to reject some of the ingredients in vaccines or call for avoiding contemporary medical interventions” (Spark & Market). It would seem that having this mindset would make some people believe that its putting children at risk of contracting one of these diseases, but since it is due to religious reasons and religion being a strong force in this country, it would seem there could be little to be done about this. Additionally, some people believe that vaccinating children is not religiously acceptable because they believe that God did not intend for those chemicals to be in our bodies, as stated, “The body is sacred, should not receive certain chemicals or blood or tissues from animals, and should be healed by God or natural means” (Cultural Perspectives on Vaccination). Moreover, even though there are not many people who feel stopped from vaccinating because of religion, there is still a considerable amount of people whose faith is the reason that causes them not to vaccinate.
A multitude of false beliefs exists in the anti-vaccination community revolving around their personal beliefs rather than those backed by science. Some of these reasons being that a child’s immune system is strong enough to ward off against any disease that they are trying to be vaccinated against, some parents saying that home remedies will boost their immune system enough to prevent these diseases from happening. As Mckee and Bohannon state: “Some parents believe that natural immunity is better for their children than is immunity acquired through vaccinations. Others express the belief that if their child contracts a preventable disease, it will be beneficial for the child in the long term, as it will help make the child’s immune system stronger as he grows into adulthood” (Mckee & Bohannon). These beliefs have been the very base of the anti-vaccination community as most of these parents resort to using their vices to treat an ill child or just prevent the disease from happening with these home remedies.
Although many people believe that vaccines cause neurological problems and mainly autism, actually, it has been scientifically proven that there is no connection between vaccines and autism. According to Nelson, in an article by The American Journal of Nursing, “A number of studies have examined the possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism, and none has ever been found” (Nelson, 19). This statement proves that the common belief that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, and many others, cause autism in children is an issue that has been researched many different times, and no results have been discovered that show a correlation between vaccines and autism.
All in all, there is much compelling evidence that vaccinations have no adverse effects on children and do not lead to any neurological damage or halts the mental growth of children. It would seem that not vaccinating one’s child could be worse for the child, even leading to the death of a disease or virus that has not affected humanity for decades, putting one’s child at significant risk of contracting one of these ancient diseases or viruses. It would endanger public health for society as a whole if fatalities started to rise again for not vaccinating one’s child
We can undoubtedly say that throughout the last century, the advancement in modern medicine has definitely helped the human species survive many diseases that, if not cured, could eradicate humans in many ways. Vaccinations and immunizations have become a natural standard since, like before the 21st century, they are more accessible to the public, prevent deaths from happening by infectious diseases that are now obsolete, and prevent the initial infection from ever happening due to these immunizations and vaccinations.
Finally, as stated before, most of the reasons why parents hesitate when deciding whether to vaccinate their children or not are mainly that they believe the vaccines will cause neurological damage to the child, for example, cause autism, and vaccines have been proven not to be a cause for autism. Another essential factor is religious believes that people may have, which can prohibit them from vaccinating their children. Furthermore, an additional main reason why parents do not vaccinate their children is because of their personal beliefs and lifestyle choices, like how some parents believe that children are naturally born with proper and adequate immune systems and that a healthy lifestyle will always keep them protected. yup