Vaccination debate heats up

Joe Zylka news editor
Joe Zylka
news editor
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The U.S. should require vaccinations
The recent outbreak of measles across the country has been nothing short of alarming over the past year. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, in a 13-year stretch from 2001 to 2013, only once did the number of measles cases exceed 200 in a given year (2011). But in 2014, that number skyrocketed to over 600 cases of the disease, and so far in 2015, there have been over 121 reported cases of measles in 18 states, including the District of Columbia.
Many people argue that the outbreak of measles, which started in December at two Disney theme parks in California, is a direct result of parents not vaccinating their children for measles and other dangerous diseases.
Parents may choose to not vaccinate for a number of reasons, ranging from “vaccines are a government and pharmaceutical conspiracy” to religious concerns, to the fact that these diseases are rare and they are not that bad.
In an August 2014 blog on the Huffington Post, Claire McCarthy, who is a pediatrician from Boston Children’s hospital and an M.D., said, “Many illnesses are rare purely because of vaccines. And when lots of people are vaccinated, it protects those who can’t be or choose not to be vaccinated. We have a name for that: “herd immunity.” But that herd immunity can break down when more people start choosing not to vaccinate — and in our global society, illnesses like measles or polio are just a plane ride away.”
While the cries of concern from deeply religious parents or skeptics on vaccinations are understandable, in today’s globalized world, vaccines are necessary, and every person living in the United States must be required to get vaccinated.
Forget what surgeon Andrew Wakefield said in his now discredited 1998 study that showed a possible link to childhood autism to vaccinations. No other researcher was able to prove or confirm that, and in January 2010, the British General Medical Council proved Wakefield of three-dozen charges, including court dishonesty and abuse of developmentally challenged children. All Wakefield’s report did was decrease vaccination rates, increase cases of disease and bring fear to the hearts and minds of parents across the world unnecessarily.
Too many parents are still wary to vaccinate their children, and this poses a serious threat to the health and safety of the public and the children who are not vaccinated. Consider this: a child in elementary school is exposed to thousands of germs per day. According to CNN Health, elementary students get eight to 12 cases of colds and flu each school year.
Not only are non-vaccinators putting their children at risk; they are putting their communities, families and nation at risk. Please, do the right thing and vaccinate yourself and your child.