“Vaccines Safety: Evidence- Based Research Must Prevail” an article by Dr. Kathleen Ahern Gould, RN that was published in Dimension of Critical Care Nursing. She also teaches at Boston College. This article is an argument about a debate that has been happening for the past few decades. The argument is that vaccinations that are given at birth and then routinely throughout later years cause Autistic tendencies in children. There are five main sections in this article including Vaccine Safety: Debunking the Myth, History of the Vaccine Controversy, Disruptions in Herd Immunity, Measles: An Old Threat Requires New Vigilance, and the Conclusion.
This debate of vaccines vs. Autism started in 1998 after a respected medical journal published an article talking about the effects that vaccinations can have on newborn babies’ development. This article was titled “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children” by Dr. AJ Wakefield. For example, Wakefield (1988) states “One child (child four) had received monovalent measles vaccine at 15 months, after which his development slowed (confirmed by professional assessors)” (Paragraph 16.)
This article was later retracted, but, yet, these arguments provided by the article continue to keep being used to this day by “anti-vaxxers.” Dr. Gourd then continues on with the article stating how because of people that do not want to vaccinate their children, there has been an outbreak in diseases that have reemerged. This reemergence has caused hospitalization and deaths. With these old diseases finding their way back to everyday life, Dr. Gourd discusses the steps that have to be taken once these diseases are spread. She also reestablishes why it is important to get vaccinated and to spread awareness about this important topic.
Analyze the Context
According to Dr. Gourd’s Author LinkedIn professional profile, she is the Editor in Chief and has written many published articles and journals dealing with health care. She is also continuously staying up to date in the industry because she is also a professor at Boston University. In “Vaccine Safety: Evidence- Based Research Must Prevail,” Dr. Gourd states that: “Scientific evidence has soundly rejected claims that autism is caused by vaccines. The science is clear, and research continues to support this evidence. Surprisingly, detractors still emerge now and again. Our role as medical professionals requires that we know the facts and continue to educate families, patients, and the public” (Paragraph 1.)
When looking at this statement, it is easy to see the stance that Dr. Gourd has on the topic of whether Vaccines cause Autism. Her purpose for writing is to promote that evidence- based research is all people need to understand the importance of vaccinations and how there is no linkage to it causing any other diseases or disabilities. Considering this came from a Nursing based website, people in this field would be her intended audience. This is helpful for these individuals who are interested to know why vaccines are important or what they should do for their own children. With that being said, this article could also be helpful for people in other fields that deal with children. Since this debate has been ongoing for years, these articles are continuously being written. It is important for these researchers and scholars to promote their opinions and arguments while also providing evidence- based research. This article was posted in a known journal website that makes it easy for other health-care professionals to find these articles and studies. This can ensure that the audience is getting quality and correct information from someone who has background and knowledge in a specific field.
Since this article has been ongoing for years, it is obvious that there are still supporters from both sides. Dr. Gourd tries to support why vaccines are important and how the original information that started the opposing side of vaccination has since been debunked. The author of that original article has also lost his license and ability to practice. Even though this argument started in the 80’s, there are still studies being done by people such as Dr. Gourd that show the importance of vaccinations and what they outcome would be without these vaccinations in place.
Analyze the Text
The main thesis that Dr. Gould makes in this scholarly article/ journal is that as professionals, they must share the knowledge and evidence with others to ensure that the importance of getting vaccinated is known to everyone. According to Dr. Gourd (2017), “Political figures and celebrities have created confusion and fueled inaccurate discussion on this topic for years, yet the science is clear. Misinformation has been corrected. Evidence- based guidelines and professional recommendations should prevail” (Paragraph 3.) To support this claim, Dr. Gourd discusses in depth the recent findings of diseases that had once been eradicated from everyday life until recently. She states that this recent outbreak of diseases, such as Measles, has been caused by children who did not receive their vaccinations. She states that the only way this will be resolved is if people with political power create laws and requirements for parents to have their children vaccinated.
As stated in the introduction, the argument is organized into different sections that provide an overall look into what the author is trying to portray to the reader. These sections include: Vaccine Safety: Debunking the Myth, History of the Vaccine Controversy, Disruptions in Herd Immunity, Measles: An Old Threat Requires New Vigilance, and the Conclusion. With these sections, Dr. Gourd provides a look into what the article is going to be about and where this argument comes from based on the history. This then leads into what has happened since people have decided not to vaccinate their children and how we can treat these outbreaks. She then concludes the article by restating the importance of vaccinations.
Considering the author of this article is the Editor in Chief of this journal and also a Boston University professor with a PhD, readers are expecting her to be credible when they read through her articles. This creates a relationship between the reader and the author and cause them to believe her statements and that she has done the proper research. Dr. Gourd uses facts, research, and tables to provide evidence that supports her claims. This makes the author’s writing more valuable to the reader because of their background knowledge and their obvious time spent to research this topic. There are also references from other scholarly articles and authors that have background knowledge in this field as well. She looks to provide an emotional response to the reader to show how important it is to share this information with others. By doing so, more people can see the real results of vaccinations and how they are not linked to Autism or other disabilities. They are made to help ourselves and others around us. The author’s style can be considered formal because of how Dr. Gourd remains professional and organized while providing quality information that is backed by evidence- based results.
This debate has been ongoing for decades and does not seem to be stopping anytime soon. With articles such as these, scientific research continues to be shared in hopes of changing the minds of people that refuse to vaccinate their children. With Dr. Gould’s insight, it is easy to see the importance of trained professionals and how people like her can share her research and reasoning behind specific topics. With vaccines being one of the most important tools we have to prevent diseases, it is important that these older articles that promote vaccines causing Autism are debunked. One of the final comments provided by Dr. Gould states, “Experts agree that the benefit of vaccines is not a matter of opinion by a matter of scientific fact.” With over 6 million deaths prevented every year worldwide by vaccines, these precautions continue to be an important aspect to allowing children to have a full and long life.
- Dr. Kathleen Ahern Gourd. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-kathleen-ahern-gould-44331511/.
- Vaccine Safety. (2017). Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 36(3), 145–147.doi: 10.1097/dcc.0000000000000250
- Wakefield, D. A. J. (1988, February 28). Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specificcolitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Retrieved September 29, 2019,from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(97)11096- 0/fulltext.