The Mandatory Implementation Of Vaccines

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In the past, a number of diseases caused a significant amount of suffering and death. Polio, measles, tetanus, smallpox, pertussis, mumps and rubella are among the list of diseases that have plagued mankind for generations. Over the last 100 years, advances in medical science have turned the tide. Many of these diseases have almost been eradicated due to the development of vaccines. Vaccines were initially considered a tremendous medical breakthrough, because people went from being at risk to being safe from disease after disease. However, over the last few decades many have grown to distrust vaccines and even avoid their use. Although the people who deny the need for vaccines have their reasons, no one can deny more recent increases in outbreaks for diseases like measles. Just this year, there have been twelve hundred outbreaks of measles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (source 1). Vaccines should be mandatory for anyone who does not have a real medical reason to avoid them.

Measles is an excellent example of the progression of the ‘anti-vaccination’ or anti vax movement, because it is so communicable. Before the measles vaccine was created, in the United States there was “an average of 6,000 measles-related deaths reported each year” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Six thousand deaths, but virtually all children got measles by the age of 15. In 1963, the first measles vaccine was created, and later improved upon in 1968 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Almost overnight, measles became a thing of the past. People forgot the deaths, and forgot how long the disease took recover from; about two to three weeks. Most students today cannot imagine missing two to three weeks of school, not to mention the cost when a working parent has to stay home. However, not everyone can get vaccinated. Some people are allergic to the contents of the vaccine, or are just too weak to get vaccinated. People who are under cancer treatments like chemotherapy cannot take the shot.

This is where herd immunity comes into play, and why people who are fully capable of becoming vaccinated should be vaccinated. Herd immunity is the phenomenon where so many people in the population are vaccinated, that the disease in question has a hard time spreading around and infecting people. Those who are allergic or too weak will benefit from herd immunity; they are like the young or weak members of a herd of antelope. The herd can protect them from predators if they are surrounded by the herd. For instance, Rikki Edelman, who has a compromised immune system, cannot receive vaccinations. Rikki has to rely on others to get vaccinated so she does not contract those diseases. This is why vaccinations must be mandatory; those who are not able to become vaccinated themselves have no choice but to rely on others to be vaccinated so they have a better chance of not contracting the disease.

Over the last few decades, a growing number of parents are refusing to vaccinate their children. One reason that these parents refuse to get their children vaccinated is that they believe vaccines cause autism. In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a paper in the Lancet claiming that measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines was linked with autism (3rd one??). The claims made by Dr. Wakefield have been refuted, but the belief persists, mostly because of another phenomenon that grew over the last few decades: the internet. The internet is a great way to get information, but it does not filter out bad information. Another reason that parents choose to not get their children vaccinated is because the parent believes that the disease has been eradicated. These parents dont understand herd immunity, or if they do, they are stubborn in their beliefs. The fear of autism is driven by  

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