I wish to highlight an important topic today to do with the importance of vaccination and how important it is that guardians responsible for administering their children with MMR, get the best information on vaccines.
Recently, there was a news story detailing how, upon a visit to Disneyland, California, 59 people had contracted measles.
These kinds of incidents are becoming ever more common, in developed countries, and it’s all linked to the Anti-Vaccination Movement.
This all began when Dr Andrew Wakefield claimed to find a link between the MMR vaccine (for measles, mumps and rubella), gastrointestinal problems prevalent in autistic children and autism itself. His work was discredited as there were so many flaws in his methodology that it couldn’t be passed off as a series of honest mistakes; the whole study was completely fraudulent in nature!
In light of this, there are still people who ignore the evidence the scientific community has provided proving the safety of vaccination and choose not to get their children vaccinated.
In the USA, last year, 610 measles cases were reported. Considering that 500 people per year, died from measles, before the introduction of the vaccine in 1963, that is a pretty scary statistic.
What people don’t seem to realise is that by not getting their children vaccinated, they are endangering their lives and the lives of other people.
Vaccinating as many of the population as possible enhances ‘herd immunity’. This form of immunity details that the more individuals who are vaccinated, then the less likely immunocompromised people will contract the contagious disease.
MMR vaccines cannot be given to infants under 12 months old due to their immune system not being readily developed yet. It is also dangerous to give the vaccine to people with immune disorders and those who have had organ transplants (for fear that their immune system wouldn’t be strong enough to produce antibodies to combat the inert virus particles).
So, if someone doesn’t vaccinate their child for fear of autism (which is another kettle of fish I won’t begin to get into*) or because of shear apathy, then that means that these viruses are more likely to persevere in the population.
Measles can cause permanent damage to children’s ears and cause other infections such as pneumonia in affected children. Measles is easily transmissible too, either through coughing, sneezing or sharing food and drinks. Because of its airborne route of transmission, even people who are NEAR an infected individual can contract the virus if they haven’t coughed or sneezed directly on the person. This means that people who can’t get the vaccine are more likely to get the virus as it’s more prevalent in the population. And because these affected groups do not have strong immune systems (hence why they can’t get even the attenuated virus form via the vaccine) they are more likely to develop complications, and die from measles.
Scaremongering in the early 2000’s sure played a role in the re-emergence of measles (did you know it was thought to be eradicated in 2000?) However, the shear apathy of parents who wont get the vaccine because they believe ‘other children will get vaccinated, so there won’t be a reason my child could contract it’ all stems from ‘*negative’ association with autism. This is simply dangerous and selfish (in my humble opinion).
If people looked at more literature on the internet, which categorically states the scientific consensus that vaccines are safe, then less people will succumb to this viral disease.
Good starting places that I recommend include:
I hope people realise that this is a public health concern that needs addressing and that getting information out to people on the importance of vaccination is crucial. To protect children directly and the whole population.
*The asterisk represents my cynicism towards seeing autistic people as afflicted with an awful condition. Autistic people are talented and can lead rich, fulfilling lives just as easily as someone without autism. IF there was a link between vaccines and autism, then (in my opinion) that shouldn’t be a problem, considering if you weighed it up against the harmful effects of measles, mumps and rubella.
Peace out all xoxoxoxo