Vaccines: Science or Panic?

In the past few years, there has been a steady movement against vaccines. Some say the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is a factor for autism, despite the lack of scientific evidence. “There is no link between vaccines and autism,” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention according to its web page about vaccine safety. “Vaccine ingredients do not cause autism.”

While some consider vaccines to be nothing more than nonsense, they can rest assured that there is no scientific basis for the claim that vaccines cause autism.

“The science is pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again,” President Barack Obama said during an NBC News interview. “There is every reason to get vaccinated. There aren’t reasons to not.”

The message is simple, especially if you have children: vaccinate! The claim that vaccines cause autism is clearly invalid. Vaccination is a great way to prevent disease, not promote it.

“Every time you call 911, ride in an ambulance, go to the doctor or visit the hospital emergency room, you must alert medical personnel of your child’s vaccination status so he or she receives distinctive treatment,” the New York State Department of Health reported on its website. “Because non-vaccinated children can require treatment that is out of the ordinary, medical staff may be less familiar, and less experienced, with the procedures required to appropriately treat your child.”

The department also includes social implications of not being vaccinated as well.

“If there is an outbreak in your community, you may be asked to take your child out of school and other organized activities, causing your child to miss school and special events,” the department’s website reported.

Children die every year from the flu.

“Last influenza season, more than 140 flu-related pediatric deaths were reported,” the CDC reported, and each year, an average of 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized due to influenza complications.

Parents choose not to vaccinate their children for a myriad of reasons – everything from the fact that their children crying when they receive their shots to the idea that these vaccines are unsafe.

Model, actress, author and comedienne Jenny McCarthy had been quoted over the years as taking a stern view against vaccines.

“Moms and pregnant women are coming up to me on the street going, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. And I don’t know what to tell them, because I am surely not going to tell anyone to vaccinate. But if I had another child, there’s no way in hell,” McCarthy said in a 2007 interview with Larry King, despite her repeated claims that she is not anti-vaccine.

McCarthy claims her son, Evan, who has autism, has begun to recover from his condition by way of a gluten-free, casein-free diet, vitamin supplementation, detox of metals, and anti-fungals for yeast overgrowth that plagued his intestines.”

McCarthy said that while these methods are not scientifically proven, they work for her child. However, I don’t see how that is the case. Autism and autism spectrum disorder are characterized by impaired social and communication skills, and they have nothing to do with what kind of yeast is growing in one’s intestines.

This anti-vaccine movement has gone on long enough. I understand the concern, but we need to realize the kind of havoc the execution of these ideas can wreak on a child. If an adult chooses not to keep current on his or her vaccinations, it is within his or her right to do so; but a child cannot legally decide what to do, and for a human being incapable of choice in this scenario, it would be cruel and inhumane for a parent to do anything less than the best for his or her child.

“From January 1 to September 18, 2015, 189 people from 24 states and the District of Columbia  were reported to have measles,” the CDC reported. The majority of people who got measles were non-vaccinated.

This is proof that vaccines work. Whoever is opposed to vaccines is clearly not listening to science. It’s time to ask ourselves what works. It would be disastrous for public health if all the evidence is ignored. The time has come to pay attention to science and to do what is right.

Story by Tim Lyman

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