Vaccinations necessary for superior quality of life

Courtesy of CDC.gov

Wendy Guo, Reporter

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In the last few years, case of the measles — the viral, extremely infectious and nearly eradicated disease — have exploded in 30 countries, including the United States and nearby in Washington. There have been reports of 14,451 known cases, with the number tripling from 2014 to 2017.

The cause? Vaccination hesitancy.

While some would say vaccinations do more harm than good, in actuality, they are one of the safest, not to mention greatest, medical developments humans have achieved.

Not only is immunization safe, but it is highly effective. The Centers for Disease Control reported that between 1944 to 2014, in the U.S. alone, roughly 732,000 kids were saved from death due to vaccinations. Additionally, vaccines prevented 322 million cases of childhood diseases in the U.S. from 1944 to 2014.

These statistics indicate clear benefits not only to children but to parents as well. With vaccines, parents have the pleasure of seeing their kids remain vigorous, not frail with illness. What’s more, herd immunity secures the protection of other children who might be unable to get vaccinated, due to their age or their compromised immune systems.

Also known as community immunity, herd immunity occurs when the great majority of the population, 92 to 94 percent, is vaccinated and protected from a disease when an outbreak occurs. A case in 2005 proved the magnitude of the impact of herd immunity. An 18-month-old child contradicted polio and, according to vaccines.procon.org, the disease only spread to four other unvaccinated kids. Because the community met the requirements for herd immunity, there were no further polio outbreaks.

Along with vaccines saving lives, they also translate into saving time and money. When a child becomes sick, parents take time off work, costing them income. In a 2012 CDC study, a group of toddlers became riddled with the flu for eight days. With their parents leaving work, it incurred the families an average of 42 hours of wages, or $840.These numbers do not include expenses from any serious complications which could have resulted in hospitalization and medical bills ranging from $300 to $4,000.

Since a majority of health insurance plans and government programs cover the costs of vaccines, the refusal to get them is inexcusable. Being immunized becomes a thousand times cheaper than the effects of not doing so. All in all, it saves everyone’s time and money — two values that nobody has an abundance of.

Some still argue that immunization causes autism due to their ingredients. However, this is far from the truth. No reputable scientific data has linked autism to vaccinations. Ingredients like formaldehyde and aluminum are only damaging in large quantities, not like the doses used in vaccines. In fact, infants are exposed to more aluminum from breast milk or infant formula, according to www.fda.gov.

Children, in general, are more vulnerable to the outside world than they are to the contents of vaccines. Paul Offit, MD, noted that they are more exposed to “bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other harmful substances in a day of normal activity than…in vaccines.” Furthermore, the FDA mandates testing for all vaccines for 10 years or more before releasing one to the general public. Even after, the FDA and CDC perform their due diligence and monitor the ingredients used, according to www.cdc.gov.

With the World Health Organization (WHO) listing vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019, it is important, now more than ever, to take action. History shows that it is possible to prevent dangerous illnesses from spreading. A simple, but not always obvious, step is to inform oneself of the history and research behind a controversial issue.

Before buying into others’ opinions, each person can easily use the internet to research reliable information. According to uknowit.uwgb.edu, to tell if a website is credible, see if the author is listed — to prove that they are willing to stand behind the information presented — look at the domain — such as .org, .edu, .gov are reliable — and check for their writing style. If major grammatical errors are present, it indicates a lack of effort and, therefore, not sound information. After all, what’s the point of making a decision that can affect the health of others, only to have the facts wrong?

As the number of people contracting vaccine-preventable diseases skyrockets, it is imperative that health authorities emphasize vaccinations’ significance.

For those who still oppose it, consider this – does anyone really benefit from resisting immunization?

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