The problem today is that more and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children. Some parents refuse to vaccinate because they believe that it can cause Autism. Others have lost sight of the need to vaccinate without the first-hand threat of the virus. This not only puts their child at risk of catching the disease but also increases the risk of others. Vaccines can decrease the risk of outbreaks of life-threating diseases, prevent the creation of new viruses, and protect those who cannot get vaccinated; therefore, all parents should keep their kids up to date with every vaccine.
These life-saving tools decrease the risk of dangerous outbreaks and the creation of new viruses. Vaccines introduce the immune system to a certain virus. Without the vaccine, the immune system fails to recognize the virus. Since viruses lack the ability to breed on their own, they take control of a host cell and dedicate it to reproducing its’ genetic code. A virus can have one of two types of genetic code DNA or RNA. While DNA has a ‘spell check’ that corrects most of the mistakes of duplication, RNA copies faster and lacks the ‘spell check’ feature leading it to a higher mutation rate. During this time, the immune system might have cracked the original virus, but the mutated virus is unrecognizable and communicable. As long as people remain unvaccinated, viruses will continue to multiply and mutate exponentially. If parents do not take action now, fighting viruses will become impossible to cure due to the exponential increase of new viruses.
People who get vaccines are not only protecting themselves but also helping those who cannot get vaccinated. This effect is known as herd immunity. As defined by Tae Hyong Kim in “Vaccine Herd Effect,” herd immunity is the “indirect protection of the unvaccinated persons, whereby an increase in the prevalence of vaccine- immunity prevents circulation of infectious agents in unvaccinated successful populations” (Kim 1). Children and adults who cannot be vaccinated for different reasons rely on herd immunity. In essence, vaccinated individuals can pick up viruses and neutralize them without any harm; therefore, the immune-compromised has a smaller chance of obtaining the virus. As stated by Bill Nye in his new film, “it’s one of the reasons we should all take a shot in the arm for those who can’t get a shot in the arm” (Nye). In order for the herd effects to be successful 92% of the population has to be vaccinated. If individuals who can take a vaccine choose not to, they are affecting the most susceptible people around them.
Parents with little knowledge about science tend to be misinformed about key topics relating to their child’s health. Alison Knopf explains the controversy around vaccines and autism in her article “Vaccines do not cause autism: Pediatricians fight back against anti-science.” After stating multiple times that vaccines do not cause autism she explains that the start of the controversy was when, “Andrew Wakefield and colleagues published a study in 1998 The Lancet linking the MMR vaccine to autism, with the sample of 12 subjects” (Knopf 1). In a true medical study, scientists will use hundreds if not thousands of test subjects before making any conclusions. To make matters worse, it was discovered that “lawyers, who were suing vaccine companies” (Knopf 1), funded the study. The paper was retracted on fraudulence and Waterfield lost his medical license. After many years of research on this ‘connection,’ multiple distinct organizations have all reached the same conclusion: Vaccines do not cause Autism.
If parents keep their kids up to date with vaccines, the United States would have fewer outbreaks of new viruses, minimize the risk of lethal diseases, and protect everyone else while keeping their child as the first priority. Since vaccines are completely safe, there is not a compelling reason to stay anti-vaccine.