Imagine this. Your flying to Iceland to enjoy a vacation, your plane lands and you see a sign, “all non-vaccinated passengers will not be allowed to enter.” Immediately you think why? The answer…public health. The anti-vaccine movement has caused numerous scares for parents, and it needs to be stopped by making vaccines mandatory: destroying any idea of a link between vaccines and autism. The anti-vaccine movement took off in the nineties after a doctor, who had his license revoked, published a fake paper outlining a link between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism. This link has been proven to be false many times.
The anti-vaccine movement started when controversial “doctor,” Andrew Wakefield, published a paper titled, Lancet MMR autism fraud. Although people before this would occasionally not vaccinate their children, this kick-started the anti-vaxx movement. Although Wakefield got his medical license revoked, some people still believe him. Experts don’t seem know why people believe him. Although vaccines are provided at low or no cost, Wakefield says that they are for money…which is false, especially given that vaccines make only 24 billion a year in revenue. That seems like a massive amount, but that makes up about 2% of a pharmaceutical companies revenue, which in turn is not alot. They can easily cut the vaccine market off and still make huge amounts of money.
The anti-vaxx movement is causing many issues today: “A measles outbreak in Washington state prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency on Jan. 25. As of Thursday, 55 cases have been confirmed this year, most of them in non-vaccinated children under age 10” (Lambert). This is a major issue, which has caused Herd Immunity to gets less and less effective. Herd Immunity is the idea that if most of the people are vaccinated, the rest of the population will also be protected. People who have compromised immune systems rely on this principle to stay safe, as they can’t get vaccines.
Vaccines are one of the best investments one can make in themselves. Vaccines have undoubtedly aided human advancement; if we didn’t have vaccines, humans would die at a significantly earlier age. Additionally, vaccines are usually free with health insurance. The CDC reported that, “Prefilled syringes cost an average of $136 in the United States” (Rosenthal). Students in my district live near four or five CVS pharmacies, which give vaccinations.
Anti-vaxxers rely on flawed information to back up their arguments, making statements that have no information to support. It is a known fact that autism is not caused by vaccines. According to the Mayo Clinic, “children show symptoms of autism within the first year” (Mayo). The MMR vaccine, which most anti-vaxxers link to autism, is administered within 12-15 months. According to Web MD, ” [children] should receive their first shot between 12-15 months” (Web MD). If this schedule is followed, and Autism shows symptoms within a year of birth, how does a vaccine cause a genetic illness, which shows symptoms before they even get it? The article by Kelly Brogan states, “Deeply ingrained in our most primitive impulses, mothers are wired to protect their children” (Brogan). Even if vaccines did carry a risk, people would still vaccinate their kids. Why? They want their kids to be protected from deadly sicknesses.
Vaccination resistance is horrible. Even with the plethora of evidence that’s provided, some people still choose to not vaccinate their children. To solve this issue, we must go make vaccines mandatory nationwide: “ Vaccines contain the same germs that cause disease (for example, measles vaccine contains measles virus, and Hib [Haemophilus 121influenzae b] vaccine contains Hib bacteria). But they have been either killed, or weakened to the point that they don’t make you sick” (Gale). Vaccines are safe, effective, and are relatively low cost, so why not make them mandatory? New York State already requires it to get into school, so why not push this across the country.
For now, we must stop the anti vaxx movement and as a goal, we must make vaccines mandatory, ridding our society of bad sicknesses forever. The anti-vaxx movement must end.
Photo Credit: Johns Hopkins University