The Vaccination Debate

Posted by Ruby Gray on January 28, 2015

There has been a lot of debate over whether to vaccinate children or not. The recent outbreak at Disneyland in the US is causing a lot of media attention. Modern day parents in developed countries have never lived through a time without vaccinations.

By age 2 most children will have received approximately 24 vaccines. These vaccines undergo extensive and lengthy testing for safety and effectiveness. There are always exceptions as no drug is 100% safe for every person due to their unique make-up. 

It takes 95% of the population to be vaccinated to protect the small amount of those who cannot be vaccinated such as infants under the age of 12 months, those truly allergic to the ingredients, and people taking certain drug therapies. 

The CDC, World Health Organization and many nongovernmental professionals agree that vaccinations are of utmost importance in fighting the spread of diseases that have become almost unheard of. Doctors are required to report any adverse reactions from a vaccination.

Regulations for a child to enter school state which vaccinations are required, but many exceptions are allowed. Many parents home school when they don't want their child vaccinated and this sparks much of the debate.

Parents wanting to do the best for their own child may be causing unintended catastrophic consequences for others.

Parents have the freedom of choice in this matter. A growing group of parents known as anti-vaxxers no longer immunize their children objecting to the fact that the vaccine is made from unnatural ingredients. Formaldehyde, aluminum, and mercury are used in low doses to create and preserve the vaccine.

Anti-vaxxers site research showing that natural immunity will last longer. Getting chicken pox can give lifelong immunity, but vaccinations may not and some diseases require booster shots.

Many parents believe immunizations can cause autism. A 1998 study published in the Lancet by British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield suggested a connection  between the MMR vaccine and autism. In 2010 the journal retracted the study saying the statements in the study were utterly false. Wakefield's license was revoked when it was found he was a paid consultant for lawyers representing parents who thought vaccinations harmed their kids.

Medical professionals agree there is no evidence to link autism to any vaccine, but the rumors persist. With celebrities statements and internet searches it's easy to find those who still insist it is a fact.

No doubt the debate will go on and it is ultimately up to each parent to decide whether the benefits outweigh the risk.