By Jacob Collins |Asst. Online Editor|
The anti-vaccine movement is one that will only serve as a threat to public health and well-being.
The movement stems from a study conducted by Andrew Wakefield in 1998 which attempted to link the Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism.
The study has been retracted from medical literature and, according to Business Insider, the study was conducted with only 12 subjects, all of which were not randomly selected but assembled.
Several large-scale studies have attempted to recreate Wakefield’s results, one of which was a Danish study involving almost half a million children, but there has still been no link between vaccines and autism that can be proven by science.
Despite the evidence against any link to autism, today the anti-vaccine movement is spearheaded by figures mostly in Hollywood such as Jenny McCarthy, a former playboy playmate and MTV star, who has been known for her long-time stance against vaccinations.
In a Time magazine article McCarthy said, “If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the [expletive] measles.”
Not only is such a statement absurd but it shows just how dangerous the anti-vaccination movement is.
Measles is a potentially life threatening disease that has major complications such as pneumonia and swelling of the brain which could lead to even more severe complications including hearing or vision defects, memory loss, paralysis or speech impairments, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
These severe complications can occur in as many as one in 10 people infected with the virus, according to the CDC.
Furthermore the CDC states that about 90 percent of those that are not immune to the measles who come in contact with the infection will become infected with the disease.
The parents that support the anti-vaccine movement are not only putting their children in danger but other children as well which is not only reckless, but stupid.
The bottom line is that no matter what you want to think or believe about vaccines, the fact is there is no scientific evidence that they can cause or have caused autism.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, vaccines are 90-99 percent effective in preventing disease.
There are some rare adverse effects from vaccination such as allergic reactions but the occurrence is around one in a million, according to the CDC.
Other vaccines do have some risks although the occurrences are rare and the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk of a remote complication from happening.
Recently, California senators Dianne Fienstien and Barbara Boxer have pushed for the state of California to stop allowing parents to opt their children out of vaccinations using the personal belief or philosophical exemption.
“While a small number of children cannot be vaccinated due to an underlying medical condition, we believe there should be no such thing as a philosophical or personal belief exemption, since everyone uses public spaces,” stated Fienstien and Boxer in a letter to Diana Dooley, Secretary of California Health and Human Services.
I think that this is a big step in the right direction.
Freedom of religion is an important freedom in this country, however when your religious beliefs create a threat to the public health, there is a problem.
The anti-vaccine movement is misguided, misinformed and puts those who do vaccinate in harms way.