The recent measles outbreak has caused another spike in the heated debate over childhood vaccinations. The false belief that a vaccination can cause autism has been debunked by the Centers for Disease Control, but for some reason parents against vaccinations remain unconvinced. As the measles outbreak has reached 170 individuals in 17 states, even the autism advocacy group, Autism Speaks, has spoken out in favor of vaccinations, and the measles vaccination in particular. They are encouraging parents to have their children immunized.
— azcentral (@azcentral) March 3, 2015
In a report by the Washington Post, Autism Speaks chief science officer Rob Ring addressed the issue in no uncertain terms.
“Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism. We urge that all children be fully vaccinated.”
A study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield in 1998 linked autism to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination, causing the fear that has only increased, despite the fact that the study was discredited, and resulted in Wakefield losing his medical license. Then actress Jenny McCarthy became the voice against vaccinations, claiming her son contracted the condition after receiving the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination. In an interview with Time in 2009, Jenny raged against vaccines.
“I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f***ing fault that the diseases are coming back… If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the f***ing measles.”
Interesting. Most parents would not wish a deadly or debilitating disease on their child. According to World Health Organization, measles is one of the leading causes of death in young kids each year.
Vaccinations were invented for a reason. At one time, deadly diseases like measles ravaged America’s children. The potential for surviving a disease such as polio or measles was uncertain. A large portion of those who did survive were left with scars or other physical reminders of the horrid illness. The introduction of vaccinations was well-received, and led to the near eradication of most of these horrid conditions, including measles.
Many of us cannot remember a time when fear of a deadly measles or smallpox epidemic was very real. Perhaps this lack of personal experience has led parents to believe that vaccinations are no longer necessary. Tell that to all the children currently suffering from a nasty bout of measles.
The Chicago Tribune states that measles infection is one of the top four causes for fatalities in children worldwide. As the number of vaccinated people decreases, other kids who cannot or have not yet been vaccinated are put at risk.
“Immunization rates are important because herd immunity — when most members of a group are immunized against a disease thus presenting little opportunity for an outbreak — can only take hold if around 95 percent of a given population is immunized. In those cases, babies who are too young, children with compromised immune systems and others who can’t get vaccines can be protected.”
In essence, parents who refuse to vaccinate their children against measles or other conditions put the rest of the population at risk. The spread of the measles outbreak is good evidence of this. Are you for or against measles vaccinations? Why or why not?
[Image via the Telegraph]