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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Vaccine-preventable diseases making a scary comeback

What do Orange County and developing countries like Chad and South Sudan have in common? Well, if you guessed vaccination rates, this might shock you. You’re unfortunately correct.

According to the Center of Disease Control, cases of the measles in the United States have been the second highest they’ve been since they were practically eliminated in 2000.

They’ve also concluded that cases of the whooping cough have risen almost four times as high since 1990, with only 83 percent of children from ages 19-35 months receiving the vaccine.

With vaccine-preventable respiratory diseases like the measles and pertussis (whooping cough) and many others making an uneasy resurgence, one has to wonder why this is happening.

Andrew Wakefield, a British former surgeon and medical practitioner, published a study that claimed to have found a link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in a well-known medical journal “The Lancet” in 1998. Since then, the study has been retracted and 10 out of the 13 medical professionals that supported his study have now withdrawn their support.

According to the British General Medical Council, his findings were fraudulent and unethical and that many of the manuscript had been falsified.

In 2010, Wakefield had his medical license revoked and was banned from practicing medicine in the U.K.

After this study came out, many parents with autistic children who had received the MMR vaccine began to speak out against it, using this study as their evidence.

Many of these parents were (and still are) well-known celebrities who used their power as a way to influence the people watching to be wary of vaccines, which makes sense considering when comparing vaccination rates in high-income families versus low-income families, studies have shown that vaccination rates are lower within the wealthy.

Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey and Bill Maher have been the front runners of the anti-vaccination movement for years.

These celebrities and many others, somehow believe that their wealth and power in show business equates to years of medical practice and an expertise in pathogens. Ridiculous right?

Well unluckily for us, a survey done by the University of Michigan found that about 24 percent of Americans put “some” trust in what celebrities have to say about medicine. Now, 24 percent might not seem like a large number, but even at two percent, the fact that anyone believes what celebrities have to say about medicine rather than a licensed medical professional is a frightening thought in itself.

The famous, mommy-blogger loving quack Dr. Oz has (not shockingly) also spoken out against vaccines, doing a whole segment on Thimerosal and the dangers it supposedly presents.

McCarthy has also spoken out against vaccines for this reason. So what’s Thimerosal? It’s a mercury-containing organic compound that has been used in many biological products and vaccines.

According to the Federal Drug Administration, “Thimerosal has been removed from or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines routinely recommended for children six years of age and younger, with the exception of inactivated influenza vaccine.”

Even with this statement proving that vaccines are safe, unbelievably enough Oz and McCarthy are still not satisfied.

Because of people like this, more and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate.

“Personal belief” exemptions are at an all-time high in elementary schools. These exemptions, whether they are based on religious beliefs or because of fear-mongering celebrities, allow that child to attend school even though they haven’t been vaccinated.

This is blasphemy. When did people’s personal non-religious beliefs become more important than the general health of society?

In 2014, it’s incredible that there is this much of a distrust in science. There used to be a time where scientific practices and breakthroughs were celebrated but now they are criticized for working for “Big Pharma” or other monetary agendas.

As famous scientist and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has said, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

Bottom line, it’s not okay to choose not to vaccinate your child, unless they have a condition or an allergy where they can’t receive them. It is an ignorant and selfish choice to not vaccinate your child, because not only are you putting them in danger but you risk the lives of other children as well.

Due to the fact that vaccines aren’t 100 percent reliable, they rely on herd immunity, which means the majority of people need to be vaccinated in order to keep that disease at bay. If most people are vaccinated, the disease has little chance to spread. The more that people do not vaccinate, the more these diseases spread. Simple as that.

So do society a favor, trust the science behind vaccines and make the intelligent decision to vaccinate.

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