Some parents need vaccination education

Illustration by Miles Huffman

Too many parents across the country still refuse to get their children vaccinated.

This issue is evident from the recurrence of diseases thought to have been largely eliminated, like the measles outbreak in Disneyland that occurred earlier this month.

Parents who do not vaccinate their children do so because they fear negative side effects — mainly autism.

In 1998, British medical journal the Lancet published Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s essay on the theory that the combination vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella, also known as MMR, causes autism.

Understandably, people began using this connection between the MMR vaccine and autism as a reason to skip the vaccine altogether.

Were it not human nature to constantly be searching for answers, more people might not recognize the clear-cut coincidence: Children must be administered vaccines for public safety between ages 1 and 2. What’s more, symptoms of autism begin to appear in children between ages 1 and 2.

Wakefield spread word that there was a direct correlation.

Today, Wakefield’s theory is nothing more than a discredited claim — a hypothesis that has since been disproven.

In 2010, the Lancet retracted Wakefield’s essay, as the British General Medical Council ruled that Wakefield “failed in his duties as a responsible consultant.”

Wakefield’s claim was false and he can no longer practice medicine in the U.K.

Yet parents still oppose vaccines. Parents still disregard the safety of their communities so their children won’t have to get a shot. But the fact is that vaccines save lives.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most childhood vaccines are 90 to 99 percent effective in preventing disease. Disease symptoms are usually less serious in children who have been vaccinated compared to those who haven’t.

In general, negative side effects are rare.

Vaccines do contain harmful ingredients such as aluminum, formaldehyde and thiomersal. But these substances are only dangerous in large amounts.

Children would actually be exposed to more aluminum in breast milk than they would in vaccines.

The reality is simple: Doctors do not distribute dangerous doses.

Vaccines are required by law for the individual’s safety and the safety of the herd.

The herd refers to the majority or a critical portion of a population. In order for the community to remain safe, the herd has to be vaccinated.

Eighty to 90 percent of a community must be vaccinated to be entirely safe from a disease, said Dr. Lance Rodewald, director of the Immunization Services Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is the critical portion in the U.S.

The U.S. does not currently meet this standard.

Diseases that were nearly extinct in the U.S. have resurfaced due to hardcore nonbelievers working the system and skipping vaccines entirely.

These resurfaced diseases include measles and mumps.

As long as people get vaccinated, immunity will spread, which will protect future generations and eventually wipe out all targeted diseases.

Thanks to a vaccine, smallpox has not existed since 1977.

Smallpox is proof.

Miles Inserra can be reached at [email protected] or @m_inserra on Twitter.