Dear Parents: Please, Please Vaccinate Your Kids

No, there isn’t a conspiracy to make your kids ill or dumb. There is no “big pharma” agenda to poison your children for massive profits. Vaccines are here for a single purpose: to boost our bodies’ battle against life-threatening infections. They’re incredibly cheap (sometimes even free), virtually painless, and definitely life-saving. Vaccines manufactured in the U.S. are saving thousands of kids in Africa and Asia. There is no reason why you — who probably just reside a mile or two away from the nearest health center — should withhold this medical miracle from your own children.

Why am I being so passionate about getting your kids to have their shots? It’s because refusing vaccination isn’t just downright crazy, it’s also an extremely dangerous and irresponsible choice. Here is a simple yet terrifying reality for unvaccinated kids: There is a huge chance your child will die if you don’t vaccinate them. How huge a chance is this, exactly? Well, a 2013 CDC report revealed that 90 percent of children who died from flu that year were unvaccinated, so yes, the chances are pretty huge.

If you’re worried about the alleged vaccine-autism link, then here is a simple and reassuring fact: There is no such thing as a vaccine-autism link. Vaccines do not cause autism, nor do they contribute to the occurrence of neurodevelopmental disorders. There are literally hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers that debunk these ridiculous claims. Even U.S. courts have dismissed claims that vaccines are causing the sudden surge in autism diagnosis in the United States.

Thiomersal, an organomercury, used to be a secondary component for some vaccines (it no longer is, thanks to unfounded paranoia) because it prevented harmful bacteria and fungi from contaminating them. In a way, Thiomersal is actually making vaccines safer for children. However, people were quick to accuse this as the culprit between the falsely claimed vaccine-autism link. When thiomersal was finally removed from U.S. vaccines for children under 5-years-old, autism diagnosis continued to rise in number at the same rate, effectively dismissing claims of a direct causation between vaccines and autism.

Pharmaceutical companies hardly make profit from vaccine development. It’s a small percentage — less than 0.3 percent of pharma companies’ worldwide sales — compared to the hundreds of billions they make from chronic diseases and mental health meds. And so what if they are making money from vaccines. This doesn’t change the fact that vaccines work and save thousands of lives per day.

I implore all parents who are reading this to have your kids vaccinated. Do not listen to Jenny McCarthy. Listen to your local doctor. The evidence for vaccine efficacy is overwhelming and it would be incredibly unwise not to take advantage of this medical innovation.

[Image from UK Department for International Development/Flickr]