BY NORBERT RUG
Though vaccinations can prevent a number of childhood illnesses, some believe mandatory vaccination violates individual rights and can actually do more harm than good. Many people do not believe that they should be forced by law into getting vaccinated but many states do allow exemptions for moral and religious beliefs, however, they do require that children have certain vaccinations before attending public school.
Serious side effects of vaccination appear to be no more common than those from other types of medication such as antibiotics, fever reducers, and pain relievers. In my opinion, vaccines have helped children stay healthy for more than 50 years, they are safe and they work. Yet many parents still question their safety because of misinformation they’ve received.
Just because it is on the internet doesn’t make it true. That’s why I think it’s important to turn to a reliable and trusted source, including your child’s doctor, for information. Most healthcare professionals believe in their effectiveness to prevent life-threatening illnesses.
Most childhood diseases are rarer due to vaccines according to what I’ve read and if they are not given, the bacteria and viruses that cause these diseases could begin to infect more and more children. In the United States vaccines protect children from many diseases but in many parts of the world vaccine-preventable diseases are still quite common. Because these diseases may be brought into the United States by Americans who travel abroad or by immigrants, it’s important for your child to be vaccinated.
I’ve read that millions of children have been protected against serious illnesses because they were vaccinated. It is reported when a large majority of children have been vaccinated, most who get the disease will have been vaccinated. If a vaccinated child does get the disease, the symptoms will be milder with less serious side effects or complications than in a child who hasn’t been vaccinated.
A highly weakened strain of the Rubella virus is given as a vaccination to guard against the disease commonly called Measles or German Measles. It is unknown how long the immunity actually lasts, but many studies have shown that it lasts at least 15 years while a natural immunity created from actually contracting the disease will last a lifetime.
Then we have Chicken Pox. According to the CDC, Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine. Without being vaccinated and contracting Chicken Pox could cause shingles in later life.
Mumps vaccine is also created from an extremely weakened strain of the mumps virus. The mumps virus is self-limiting and will provide a lifetime immunity if contracted. The duration of the vaccine protection is unknown, however, it has been shown to last at least 12 years.
All 50 states require some types of vaccinations for children entering public schools. Since Aug. 22, 2014, all 50 states and Washington DC require vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, and rubella. As of 2009, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Physicians recommend that children be vaccinated against fifteen different common childhood illnesses.
According to a 2003 report by researchers at the Pediatric Academic Society, childhood vaccinations in the U.S. prevent about 10.5 million cases of infectious illness and 33,000 deaths per year. Vaccines have reduced and in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots anymore because the disease was eradicated decades ago and currently there is no evidence of naturally occurring smallpox transmission anywhere in the world.
However, small quantities of smallpox virus officially still exist in research laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia, and in Russia. Polio has almost been eliminated but according to the world health organization, two countries in the world have never stopped transmission of Polio (Pakistan and Afghanistan). As long as a single child remains infected with poliovirus, children in all countries are at risk of contracting the disease.
It is natural to want to understand the potential risks of vaccination, especially when the benefits are invisible, but you’ll never know how many times your child is exposed to vaccine-preventable disease and makes use of their vaccine-induced immunity. Vaccination is not just a personal choice either.
The “vaccinated community” where everyone possible in a community has been vaccinated against a disease helps to protect those who are not able to be vaccinated. These include children too young to receive vaccines and those Individuals with weakened immune systems.
I believe it is a good idea to have children vaccinated against childhood diseases.
Norb is not a medical professional and doesn’t even play one on television, however, he has decades of experience, does a lot of research and tries to reach informed opinions. One of these topics he has researched is childhood vaccinations.