High fevers, rashes, infections, pneumonia, brain damage, muscle aches, swelling, inflammation of the brain and tissue, severe skin infections, and death. These are just a few of the many ramifications of vaccine preventable diseases(cdc). The diseases, and their complications become even more detrimental in the elderly, pregnant and in babies. The solution to these diseases are simple: vaccinations. Vaccines are safe, effective, still necessary, cost and efficient, and serve as a protectant. The misconception that surrounds the anti-vaccine movement is prevalent. These fallacies include the concern of harmful chemicals, and of course the initiator of the moment, connections between autism and vaccination. The previously mentioned false notions have been debunked. Like any medical procedure vaccines have risks, however the risks are minor and extremely rare. Furthermore the risks associated with vaccinations are far less harmful than the diseases themselves. The benefits outweigh the harms when it comes to vaccines. Vaccines are important to the future of a healthy human race.
Many concerns were raised about the harmful chemicals used in vaccines like mercury, aluminum and formaldehyde. These chemicals in large doses can pose serious threats, however the chemicals are used in small doses for the purpose of boosting effectiveness. The reality is people consume these chemicals in larger quantities every day through food and drink. For example infants receive about 4.4 milligrams of aluminum from vaccines during the first six months of their lives, they receive far more through breastmilk, and formula.“While infants receive about 4.4 milligrams* of aluminum …from vaccines, they receive more than that in their diet.” The article goes on to discuss the amounts of aluminum infants digest on a daily basis from hier diet compared to the little amount of aluminum found in vaccines. “Breast-fed infants ingest about 7 milligrams, formula-fed infants ingest about 38 milligrams”CHOP. The research also goes on to reveal infants that consume soy formula ingest nearly 117 milligrams(chop). The same concerns were raised about mercury in vaccines, the mercury used in vaccines was called ethylmercury. This type of mercury is cleared from the human body quicker than Methylmercury, which is the type of mercury found in fish. The purpose of ethylmercury in vaccines is to prevent bacteria growth. “Data from many studies show no evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines.” Despite this, to ease public concerns mercury was removed from all childhood vaccines in 2001 CDC. As for formaldehyde, it is no different. Formaldehyde is used to inactivate viruses and, to detoxify “The amount of formaldehyde present in some vaccines is so small compared to the concentration that occurs naturally in the body that it does not pose a safety concern.” fda . Any concerns regarding the safety of vaccines can be put to rest considering they are tested, regulated and evaluated for years to ensure safety and quality before being released to the public.
Vaccines have become so effective that they have given people the luxury to believe they do not need them. They have worked so well that many generations have never experienced the diseases or witnessed the massive ramifications that not vaccinating entails. Before the Polio vaccines 350,000 cases were reported(who). Margot shared her story about life before vaccines and explained the seriousness of Polio “Children lost the ability to walk, to breathe, to use a limb. Hospitals had wards full of patients living out their lives in iron lungs.”(smith). Since the introduction of vaccines the numbers of deaths due to vaccine preventable diseases has decreased tremendously. According to world health organization there were only 22 reported cases of Polio in 2017. It doesn’t stop there, vaccines are also responsible for the eradication of Smallpox. Smallpox was one of the most disastrous disease to come in contact with the human race. It was a contagious disease whose symptoms include high fever, head and body aches, and extreme scabs and rashes that were sometimes permanente cdc. In 1967 there was 10-15 million cases and 2 million deaths due to Smallpox.Thanks to an intense vaccine campaign by 1978 Smallpox was completely eradicated(history). Furthermore, vaccines continue to save live and prove their effectiveness. According to the cdc “An estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths will be prevented thanks to routine childhood vaccinations.”(modernhealth).It is rational to conclude based on history, and statistics it is clear that vaccinations are effective.
It is verifiable that vaccines are safe, as well as effective, although this still leaves some to question the necessity of vaccinations. Despite some vaccine preventable disease rates being relatively low in the United States, other countries around the world are not as fortunate, and the diseases are still present at large numbers (healthykids.org).The diseases can be brought from travelers and quickly create an outbreaks, and eventually epidemics. An example of this was demonstrated in japan. In 1974, 80 percent of their children were vaccinated for the whooping cough. Due to the successful vaccinations there were only 343 cases that year However, propaganda began to spread that the vaccinations were no longer necessary, and that the vaccine was unsafe. This leg to dramatic decreasing in vaccination, in 1976 only 10 percent of japanese infants were being vaccinated. This of course led to a giant epidemic with whooping cough cases exceeding 13,000. In 1981, the government once again began vaccinating leading the whooping cough cases to drop(pkids). Another reason vaccination is still necessary is to protect future generations.
In quote the following the CDC clearly lays out the consequences of not vaccinating “What would happen if we stopped vaccinations? We could soon find ourselves battling epidemics of diseases we thought we had conquered decades ago”. Thanks to vaccinations, future generations do not need to deal with Smallpox if vaccinations continue the same could be said about other diseases. It necessary to vaccinate to protect against disease outbreaks, epidemics, and to protect future generations.
An aspect that many people seem to forget when it comes to vaccines is it’s cost efficiency. Vaccines save the economy, healthcare systems, and those affected by the disease up to trillions. Theses diseases are cost consuming on many accounts. Firstly vaccines provide tremendous economic benefits. Vaccination and routine immunization “has prevented more than 21 million hospitalizations, saving nearly $295 billion in direct costs”huff, direct costs being things such as treatment. Additionally, according to the article vaccines and routine immunization have saved “$1.38 trillion in total societal costs (which include things like lost productivity due to disability and early death)”( huff). Treating a vaccine preventable disease is extremely expensive, while getting a vaccine shot is relatively cheap. For instance, Unicef reports in Ethiopia Measles vaccine shot can be obtained for $00.23, while the Measles disease can cost a household a months earnings. They go on to describe the plentiful benefits that would be achieved in providing vaccines to every child in the 72 least wealthy countries. $6.2 billion would be saved in treatment costs, and $145 billion in productivity costs(unicef). The costs are just as detrimental in the United States, for example in San Diego 2008, 11 unvaccinated children got the Measles disease, and caused a net cost of 10,376 per case (ncbi). Vaccines can save parents, and the economy tremendous amounts of money. It is coherent that vaccines are highly cost efficient.
When someone is getting they vaccinated are not just protecting themselves, they are protecting the entire community. This is a concept referred to as herd immunity. There is a population of people who can’t get vaccinated due to allergies, weak or failing immune system, or other health conditions. Young babies, pregnant and some elderly are examples of people who are unable to get vaccinated due to their weak immune systems. They depend on the rest of the community to get vaccines to prevent the spread of diseases(vaccines.gov).Germs and especially vaccine preventable disease spread quickly, however when enough people get vaccinated the spread of diseases is limited.This means that the people unable to get vaccines will have partial protection(vacciens.gov). If someone happens to get the disease the chance of it spreading into a epidemic is decreased because it is harder for the disease to spread in a herd protected group. In order for herd immunity to work effectively, enough people need get vaccinated. In 2008, an outbreak of measles caused 48 infants to be quarantined because they were unable to get vaccinated. Theses infants were unable to rely on herd immunity because there was not enough vaccination in the community(NCBI). Vaccinations are important for herd immunity, in order to protect people who are not able to get vaccinated themselves.
It is often argued that vaccines cause autism. Certainly if this was true it would be a valid concern. However, this argument has been debunked on multiple different accounts. The argument was started by a study published to the lancet in 1998 by , Andrew Wakefield, along with 12 co- authors. The study claimed “they found evidence, in many of the 12 cases they studied, of measles virus in the digestive systems of children who had exhibited autism symptoms after MMR vaccination.”(history of vaccines). Wakefield then went on to recommend replacing the combination MMR vaccine with single-antigen vaccinations given separately over time(history of vaccines). Now there was many problems with this study, the first being only 12 cases were studied. Anyone in the medical or science community knows that when accusations like this are released, it is supported by hundreds to thousands of case examples. The next problem with this case was Wakefield filed for a patent for a single antigen vaccine in 1997, like the one he recommended in place of the combination MMR vaccine (public health). More investigations were done on the study when it was found that Wakefield was paid money by attorney seeking to file lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers, he hid this information from the lancet(public health). While the skeletons of Wakefields motives were being discovered scientists all around were studding possible links between autism and vaccines. The paper was found to be fraudulent on many accounts. Firstly Wakefield was proven to be falsifying medical records and data regarding the data. Only two children showed autism like symptoms days after the vaccination while Wakefield recorded eight. Additionally at least two children in the case study had developmental delays noted in their records before the vaccines took place despite Wakefield claiming they were “normal” prior to the vaccination(history of vaccines). Additionally, numerous research has proven there to be no link was found between vaccinations, and autism. Furthermore ten out of the thirteen authors retracted their statements regarding the link. The editor of the lancet claimed that Wakefields studies were “fatally flawed” and the Lancet retracted the paper (independant). Finally, Britain’s medical council banned Wakefield from practicing medicine. On the accounts that the study was proven falsified, fraudulent, and ill-intentioned, it has been proven that vaccines do not cause autism.
Vaccines have profoundly altered the everyday lives and health of the human race. The safety of vaccines is not questionable due to the constant regulation and research. The effectiveness of vaccines have been proven time and time again, and have even successfully eradicated a deathly and disastrous disease. Vaccines are not only still necessary but crucial for survival, without vaccines epidemics can occur quickly in a unvaccinated community, which unfortunately japan has experienced firsthand . Catching a vaccine preventable disease can be disastrous, if someone who catches the diseases is lucky enough to survive, they plausibly will be drowning in medical bills. Frankly choosing to not get a vaccine does not just affect oneself. People who are unable to get vaccines due to age, or medical reasons depend on everyone around them to get vaccinated in order to be partially protected. The ramifications of not getting vaccinated are sever, and ultimately lead to outbreaks, epidemics, and death. Although critics have argued vaccines cause Autism, the claims have been proven false. If valid research demonstrated, unknown information regarding vaccines, they would be taken into account and recommendations would be appropriately updated.
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