In the past several months, I have noticed a peculiar influx of articles, videos and intense arguments surrounding anti-vaxxers on multiple social media platforms. Sadly, I cannot escape the anti-vaxxers just like they cannot escape the measles during an outbreak. Luckily, most of the discourse I see regarding anti-vaxxers is in opposition to their so-called “cause,” so my faith in humanity is not totally lost. While those that oppose vaccinations are great material to make memes and jokes about, it is crucial to remember that they are putting countless people (including themselves and their children) in imminent danger.
From celebrities like Kat Von D, to common soccer moms, anti-vaxxers are making their “alternative” stances known while spreading widely disputed information. One of the most frustrating arguments anti-vaxxers often utilize to defend their stance is the supposed “link” between Autism and vaccinations. This questionable evidence stems from an infamous 1998 study conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that has been not only discredited but retracted.
According to the Center for Disease Control, “Some people have had concerns that ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) might be linked to the vaccines children receive, but studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing ASD. In 2011, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on eight vaccines given to children and adults found that with rare exceptions, these vaccines are very safe.”
GRAPHIC COURTESY OF CAROLINE POLICH
Another frequent argument from anti-vaxers is that they are trying to keep their children safe and healthy. Ironically, by keeping children unvaccinated, they are causing more harm than good. Not only is this stance putting their children at risk, those who are immunocompromised rely on herd immunity to prevent infections. The CDC explains, “[r]eceipt of vaccines will prevent the vaccine-preventable disease, so there can be no potential transmission to the contact with altered immunocompetence.”
If this information was not enough to convince you to be pro-vaccination, maybe the recent outbreaks of measles across Europe, the Philippines and the United States will seal the deal. One of the most alarming epidemics has been in Clark County, Washington, where there have been 53 cases of the measles since the beginning of this year. Out of all of these cases, forty-seven were unimmunized, one was immunized and the remaining five are still being investigated. Clearly, the 47 people could have avoided the illness altogether by receiving MMR vaccinations. With an efficiency rate of ninety-seven percent, the MMR vaccine is worth the miniscule pain from a needle when the possible alternative is immense suffering or even death from an illness like measles.
Considering all of this credible information is readily available online, it baffles me that anti-vaxxers are too stubborn or simply do not care to change their stance. It is one thing to try natural remedies for illnesses, but I am sorry to break it to anti-vaxxers that essential oils and herbs will not stop measles from infiltrating your defenseless body. Please, for the sake of humanity, listen to and learn from the recommendations from organizations, medical professionals and the horrifying outbreaks of completely preventable diseases when questioning your stance on vaccinations.
Victoria is a freshman Political Science major with minors in Italian and Women's and Gender Studies.