September 21, 2018
Parents across the United States are making the decision to withhold vaccinations that are to be given to their child in order to prevent deadly diseases. Parents that refuse the vaccination on behalf of their child claim that the vaccinations doctors are giving can cause serious side effects that are worse than any disease the vaccinations may prevent. The primary reasoning parents use for withholding vaccinations from their children is that they’ve been informed that such vaccinations are causing autism in children. Other parents also believe infant immune systems can’t handle so many vaccines. In addition, they also believe natural immunity is better than vaccine-acquired immunity. These beliefs are severely flawed and children are dying at an alarming rate due to the misinformation being passed around amongst parents. In order to prevent the infection and mortality rate of children from increasing any further, it is essential that parents are receiving the correct information and all myths about vaccines are debunked as well as made public through a widespread of exposure through all media outlets.
To begin with, parents must first understand the true purpose of vaccines and its benefits to not only their child, but potentially millions of others as well. According to the official website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Vaccines reduce your child’s risk of infection by working with their body’s natural defenses to help them safely develop immunity to disease.” Developing immunity to diseases is essential for children at a young age because their immune systems are much weaker. Because of a weaker immune system, it makes it much easier for deadly diseases to not only infect their child, but spread to other children as well. This is why cases of measles are coming back and infecting other kids. By vaccinating children, parents are able to prevent unnecessary mortality among their children and children of others.
However, the root of the problem is not that parents don’t believe vaccines work. The root of the problem stems from the belief that vaccines cause autism which is based solely upon discredited research. In an article published by PublicHealth.org, they write about a study conducted by Andrew Wakefield, a British surgeon, in which he suggests that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine was increasing autism in British children. This study was posted in a prestigious medical journal in 1997 and has since been completely discredited by other prestigious medical professionals. The study itself contained many errors including procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interests, and even ethical violations thus rendering the study unreliable. Unfortunately, the study had a lasting impact among parents and directly affected families all over the world by this severely flawed study that suggested parents to believe vaccines were the cause for autism. Further research shows that autism and vaccinations do not have any correlation and that widespread belief among parents is untrue.
The question remains: How do we get more parents to get onboard with vaccinating their children? The answer is more simple than one might think. It all starts with proper education programs and spreading correct information. In fact, an article posted on AmericanBar.org that was written by Nicole Le Hudson, an attorney advisor with the Department of Health and Human Services, proposes a similar idea. According to her , “…educational programs should be developed and implemented as early as possible for parents or guardians to demystify any misconceptions of or misinformation about vaccines. The information should be objective and as relatable as possible across the socioeconomic spectrum.” She goes on to write “… efforts to strengthen the community immunity through educational campaigns for parents and greater access to preventive health care in general will allow parents to make well-informed decisions, which will benefit kids and communities alike.” Hudson addresses the issue in the article she posted and also gave a solution similar to mine. With an action plan like this, we can expect to see a substantial decline in infections and casualties among children.
Parents across the United States are blindly depriving their child of vaccines that are preventative and potentially life saving. These parents are basing their beliefs upon a study that is flawed. As a result, these beliefs are now clouding the judgment of these parents and inadvertently affecting their child’s health and potentially that of other children as well. The root of the problem is a spread of faulty information which is why it is imperative that educational programs are developed and implemented as soon as possible. In addition, these findings of faulty information and knowledge of these educational programs existence need to be announced on all media platforms. Parents then will be able to make a well informed decision to vaccinate their child and by doing so, it will minimize the cases of infection of deadly diseases among school age children.
”For Parents: Vaccines For Your Children.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/vaccine-decision/index.html
Kelley King Heyworth. “Vaccines: The Reality Behind The Debate.” Parents, https://www.parents.com/health/vaccines/controversy/vaccines-the-reality-behind-the-debate/
Nicole Le Hudson. “The Childhood Vaccinations Debate.” American Bar Assocation, https://www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/publications/tyl/topics/professional-development/childhood-vaccinations-debate.html
“Vaccine Side Effects and Adverse Events.” The History of Vaccines, https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/vaccine-side-effects-and-adverse-events
“Vaccine Myths Debunked” PublicHealth, https://www.publichealth.org/public-awareness/understanding-vaccines/vaccine-myths-debunked/