Lawson: Put an end to the anti-vaccer


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Columnist Lawson argues that people who are against vaccinations are believing in false claims.

Angelica Lawson

Vaccines have played a major role in our world. They have proven to be effective life-saving devices. However, in the not-so-distant past, many states have been drifting away from the use of vaccines, and it is becoming an epidemic that must be put to an end.

Every state has its own set of vaccination laws. It has become common that in most states residents can claim religious or medical exemptions, so they do not have to vaccinate their children, but they can still send their unvaccinated children to public schools, thus putting other children at risk.

Vaccinations started being doubted when a scientist published a study stating that he found a direct link between vaccinations and autism. This study has since been found inaccurate — the scientist has even confessed to altering the findings, so his claims and data would match. There were serious errors with this study, and the conclusions he drew were incredibly biased.

When it comes to autism, there could be a genetic link that has not yet been discovered, it could be environmental, it could even be from all the chemically enriched food we eat. The point is there is no single-proven answer, and pointing the finger at vaccinations is simply nonsense. There are those who have been vaccinated who also have autism, and there are those who received vaccinations and do not have autism. The two are not correlated in any way.

Unfortunately, there are many who have begun to follow this ridiculous trend, and it’s starting to affect many individuals.

The truth is that vaccines save lives. They safely introduce your body to various deadly diseases, such as measles, mumps and rubella, so you can produce what’s needed to fight off these diseases if you were to contract any of them.

Most vaccines are for diseases that are spread on a person-to-person basis. If only some people are getting vaccinated, those diseases could spread and cause illness or even death to the people who were not vaccinated. If everyone is getting vaccinated then the disease has no host and cannot injure you or your community. How could that possibly be a bad thing?

The purpose for using vaccines is not to eradicate any of these diseases, although there is one disease that has been completely obliterated — smallpox. Vaccines were designed to help you survive with other formerly deadly diseases, so diseases such as whooping cough and polio were no longer death sentences.

Some states are now banning children who do not have vaccines from public schools as a preventative measure. California made headlines this summer when it removed religious and personal belief exemptions. Now, children who do not have the required vaccinations are not permitted to attend public or private schools until their parents can produce proof that the child has received the proper vaccinations.

In Iowa there are still exemptions available for people to use if parents feel strongly that their children should not receive certain vaccinations based on beliefs or medical reasons. Iowa law recognizes a person’s right to medical and religious exemption. Philosophical exemption is not recognized by the state.

The argument of “I made the right choice for my family” is invalid because when you choose to not vaccinate, you’re making the decision to “wing it,” meaning, “Maybe my child will get this disease or that disease, or maybe my child will get lucky and not ever be diagnosed with it.”

When you choose to turn a blind eye to the dangers of skipping vaccinations, you are choosing to expose someone else’s newborn baby to measles or whooping cough. As a stranger to said child, that is not your call to make. It is a choice that not only affects your family, but it also affects all of the families you interact with. It is socially irresponsible.

Human bodies are not naturally immune to these diseases. Your body develops immunity after exposure to a disease and after you have beaten it. There are groups of parents who are actively endorsing and, more importantly, hosting measles, chicken pox and other disease parties. These are designed to help produce natural immunity through exposure. Take a minute to think about that. Think about people who are taking their children, and their susceptible immune systems, to be purposely exposed to a life-threatening disease. Oh yeah, that makes much more sense than getting a vaccine every few years.

Focusing on creating an environment that does not hamper these thoughts and this movement is what all states need to do. Some have already begun to make these changes, so they can protect the public. Once more states start to take these initiatives, I think the anti-vaccer trend will cease to exist as it should.