By Bryan Guan
152,763 illnesses. 9,028 deaths. These troubling statistics, gathered from 2007-2015 by the Anti Vaccine Body Count (AVC), are the direct result of a multitude of diseases - all of which could have been prevented by a vaccine. The failure to vaccinate children not only endangers the children’s lives but also the lives of those around them. Unfortunately, the number of unvaccinated children continues to grow.
Why? Some parents, misled by false information in the press and on the Internet, refuse to vaccinate their children, or even worse, advocate for the removal of vaccines everywhere. There are two main reasons why these parents, notoriously known as “anti-vaxxers,” are against vaccination. First, these parents don’t believe that their children are at risk of certain vaccine-preventable diseases, or they claim that the diseases that vaccines prevent aren’t particularly serious. Second, and perhaps the most prominent, is that parents believe that vaccines are dangerous to our health because they believe that vaccines cause autism.
Careful investigation backed by science ultimately refutes all these points. First off, many vaccine-preventable diseases are still incredibly prevalent, especially due to the reluctance to vaccinate children. Diseases such as whooping cough, chickenpox, measles, and pneumonia all fall into this category. According to the Scientific American, unvaccinated children are 23 times more likely to contract whooping cough, 9 times more likely to contract chickenpox, and 6.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with pneumonia. Although typically curable, these diseases still prove to have devastating, sometimes even fatal, consequences. If not treated properly, chickenpox may cause skin infections, swelling of the brain, and even pneumonia, which then may lead to convulsion and mental retardation. These are only a few of the many examples of the deleterious effects these diseases can cause.
Regarding the safety of vaccines, none of the opposing arguments are backed by conclusive empirical evidence - despite minor and temporary allergic reactions, vaccines themselves have yet to be conclusively linked to detrimental symptoms.On the other hand, vaccines are scientifically proven to be effective. They are put through rigorous testing processes mandated by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), so the vaccines that reach the hands of medical professionals are proven to be both safe and effective. True danger arises only when you fail to vaccinate and allow these deadly diseases to continually spread.
The key points are that vaccines prevent dangerous and potentially fatal diseases, they are safe and effective, and they are constantly evaluated by a federal branch to ensure their safety and efficacy. By failing to vaccinate, you aren’t only putting your children and yourself at risk but also those around you. Too many people are finding themselves in emergency rooms, or even perhaps at the graves of their loved ones due to the refusal to vaccinate.
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