Got Vaccines?

Vaccination is a heated debate in America. On one side, it prevents your child from possibly getting sick and furthering the spread of disease, while on the other side, it is speculated that vaccinations cause permanent damage and disabilities to a kid, even including death.

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Got Vaccines?

Sabrina Jaynes, Journalist

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  A new parent has many concerns to address when they bring their newborn home. How should I warm the bottle, how should I hold my baby, should I vaccinate my baby? Every other parent seems to have the perfect words of advice from their experiences, but are they always right?

  Vaccination is a heated debate in America. On one side, it prevents your child from possibly getting sick and furthering the spread of disease, while on the other side, it is speculated that vaccinations cause permanent damage and disabilities to a kid, even including death.

  The human race has had its fair share of epidemics: smallpox in 1545 India, yellow fever in 1648 Cuba, and measles in 1657 America.

  While many believe vaccination to be a complicated process, it is quite simple. A small amount of dead or weakened germs (antigens) are inserted into one’s bloodstream–not enough to where they will get sick, but enough for the body to recognize the disease and create antibodies to fight the cells. Memory cells are then created to continually fight in case the disease ever comes back.

  Current-day medication is drastically different than that of hundreds of years ago. Many doctors used to have outrageous views on how to cure someone; in the early 17th century doctors prescribed things such as drinking beer mixed with holy water or bleeding someone to cleanse their body of infection, practices that were extremely dangerous and had almost no positive effect.

  In 1774, Benjamin Jesty, an English farmer and cattle breeder, attached a piece of skin from his cow who had cowpox to his wife and two sons. Jesty, who had previously been infected with cowpox and performed this operation on himself, believed he was now protected from the disease. When smallpox hit his village, his theory was proven true, with both his wife and kids not showing any symptoms. Because Jesty did not record his findings officially, his discovery was mostly forgotten.

  This operation, called “variolation,”  killed many due to it’s barbaric nature, but there was still a higher percentage of deaths resulting from the disease itself.

   Many people felt that their children would die either way, and needed to do all that was possible to save their child in the meantime. On this matter, Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father, stated, “I long regretted that I had not given it to him by Inoculation.” Franklin had previously not encouraged variolation within his family, resulting in the death of his son. Franklin felt terrible on the death of his son and said he would have preferred killing him in the hopes of saving him rather than standing idly by.

  During the same time, Catherine the Great of Russia was successfully variolated, creating a movement within Europe to variolate all children. This practice became popular to all social classes as it was encouraged by the upper class.

  In 1813, the U.S. Vaccine Agency was established by president James Madison. Just seven years later, deaths from smallpox began to drop from a recorded 18,000 to 8,000 according to a study by the London Bills of Mortality.

  Many people have questioned the effectiveness of vaccinations, but time and time again, it has been proven to be a very effective protection against disease. In the late 1800’s there was a major outbreak of smallpox in Indiana, when a local physician noted that there had been a recent negligence in vaccination. Despite measures against the disease, such as quarantine, fumigation of mail, and banning public gatherings, the disease quickly spread and infected over 140 people. This event helped convey the negative aspects behind a community who refuses to vaccinate.

  The evolution of vaccinations have created a healthier and safer society. Vaccinations have single handedly eradicated smallpox all over the globe, nearly eradicated polio, and have reduced the number of cases in diseases such as diphtheria, rubella and haemophilus influenzae Type B (HIB) by more than 99%.

  Even with all these success, so many people choose to doubt the effectiveness of vaccines. Many believe the harmful ingredients within vaccines, such as aluminum and Formaldehyde, can be deadly to a person. In reality, because the dosage of these ingredients are so small that it does not affect the body. Even the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires at least 10 years of testing before a vaccine is even considered to be implemented, just so nothing slips through the cracks.

  In 1998, a case was published by Andrew Wakefield MD, a scientist researched vaccinations, that stated Wakefield could not find a connection between MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccination and autism, yet in a press video soon after, Wakefield claimed there was a direct connection. This caused an uproar throughout the nation as many parents began to refuse to vaccinate their child in fear.

  In the years following, various studies were conducted to try to prove this, yet many organizations found that there was no link between the two at all. This means that there is absolutely no evidence that vaccinations cause autism.

  While many ignorant parents continue to believe there is connection, it seems ludicrous that a parent would willingly allow their child to be at risk for disease rather than risk their child having autism. I, for one, would much rather have my child alive and pain-free rather than speculate my child might get autism.