Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On Anti-Vaccination Parents

I very well might lose some friends over this one.

We need to talk about vaccines.  We, in particular, need to talk about anti-vaccination parents.

When you refuse to vaccinate your child, you show either a complete misunderstanding of modern medicine or a willful ignorance.  Because vaccines save lives by protecting children against preventable diseases.

There will be people who tell you that the MMR vaccine causes autism.  What they probably won't tell you is that the MMR vaccine is administered for the first time at around a year to a year and a half: roughly the same time that autism begins to noticeably manifest in children, regardless of whether they have gone through vaccinations.  This is partially because most recognizable signs of autism can only manifest as your child starts to develop social, oral, and motor skills.  They also leave out the part where the only study to ever draw the conclusion that autism and vaccines are linked had his medical license revoked for scientific misconduct.

There will be people who will tell you that vaccines aren't tested well, but as this article will tell you, or rather demonstrate through the copious studies to which it links, this is absolutely untrue.

I understand that being a parent and looking at the risks of certain things can make these kinds of decisions terrifying.  Side effects are rare, and typically mild, but what if your child is that one case where they aren't?  It's a tough place to navigate.

But realistically, when you choose not to vaccinate your children, you put other people at risk.  Non-vaccinated populations can allow for viruses to mutate so that the vaccines are no longer as effective.  Non-vaccinated populations put the small portion of the population that can't be vaccinated (because they're too young or have allergies or other health complications) at risk.  Many of these childhood diseases are survivable, but they can also be permanently damaging or even fatal in far more cases than the cases of severe negative reactions to vaccines.

It's not just about your kids, sadly.  It's about everybody's kids.  And when you choose not to vaccinate because Jenny McCarthy says it causes autism, you put everyone at risk.

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