The Benefits of Vaccination
Vaccinations are one of the single most important things one can do for the health of their children. Although, it has been a subject of recent controversy, the benefits of being vaccinated far outweigh not being vaccinated. Instead of taking medical advice from an actress, or buying into the conspiracy theories that suggest the government is using immunizations in an attempt to poison the population, parents need to spend a little time doing some research on the matter. Vaccinations were developed to preserve human life. If popular opinion concerning immunizations changes, countless illnesses, hospitalizations and even deaths will be prevented. If they do not, we are going to see a spike in needless childhood sicknesses and potential fatalities.
The debate and concern amongst parents has mostly been brought upon by famous TV personalities, such as Jenny McCarthy. These celebrities are using their status to instill fear in parents regarding the vaccination issue. For example, some of these individuals, who have zero credibility in the scientific community, are claiming that autism is scientifically linked to childhood vaccinations. Most of the anti-vaccination supporters attribute, thimerosil, an organic compound that contains mercury, as the major component that leads to autism.
Thimerosil was used as a preservative in many vaccines starting in the 1930s. Due to public concern and “an increasing awareness of the theoretical potential for neurotoxicity, [t]himerosal has been removed from or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines”, except for the influenza vaccine (Vaccines, Blood & Biologics, n.d., para. 1,2). However, though it was taken out of vaccines in 2001, the numbers of autism cases have continued to increase, thus, generating more evidence that vaccines do not cause autism. Nonetheless, many parents are still refusing to have their children vaccinated, much to the dismay and concern of health care personnel because serious, life threatening, avoidable illnesses may result.
The invention of vaccinations/immunizations is one of the greatest achievements in history. Prior to those days, children often came down with infectious diseases, and many of them died. For example, outbreaks of smallpox wreaked havoc upon the towns and villages it visited, claiming the lives of millions (Young, n.d. para. 5). People also tended to live in crowded conditions and drank contaminated water, often polluted with human waste. Unfortunately, in those days people were unaware of germs and their link to contagious illnesses. With primitive treatments, such as bloodletting, and leaches—and without knowledge of immunizations, antibiotics, or even hand washing, many succumbed to terrible illness. Children in 17th century England died of diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, smallpox, mumps, rubella, polio, haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pneumococcal infection and dysentery caused by rotavirus.