Vaccinations are something that most people would consider routine. When a child is born, and as they grow up in our society, they get a number of vaccines to prevent them from becoming ill thanks to proven modern medicine. What seems like a simple process that most people can remember going through, the topic of child vaccinations has become a debate among men and women in America today.
In recent years, many men and women in America have chosen to not vaccinate their children due to personal philosophical beliefs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), America has a vaccination rate of 92 percent, while countries like Guatemala have a vaccination rate of 93 percent. Mexico has a vaccination rate of 95 percent, and Honduras puts America to shame by having a vaccination rate of 98 percent.
While some would consider an opinion about the health of their children to only be personal, unfortunately, the result of these personal opinions are much more than personal; they are causing outbreaks. Recently an outbreak of measles has started across America, even though it was practically eradicated in the United States in 2000. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from Jan. 1 to Feb. 20, 2015, 154 people from 17 states and Washington D.C. were reported to have measles.
According to the CDC, measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing. Also, the measles virus can live for up to two hours on a surface or in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touches their eyes, noses or mouths, they can become infected. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears, meaning that a person can show no visible signs of the disease while still being infected and infecting others.
Unlike most debates, which usually are considered a difference of opinion, what is unfortunate about this specific debate is that it cannot be confined to philosophical measures. Measles is a contagious disease meaning someone who has measles can literally infect someone else with a disease by being in contact with him or her. The danger of this debate is that it is directly affecting the well being of someone else. If a parent decides not to vaccinate their child, they are not potentially jeopardizing their own health, but they are risking the health of their child and potentially others as well.
One instance where someone infected with this disease can infect someone else is in the case of infants. Since the measles vaccine is not recommended for children under six months of age, it is very possible that a person infected can infect an infant with the disease due to “philosophical differences.”
According to the CDC, “measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. From 2001-2013, 28 percent of children younger than 5 years old who had measles had to be treated in the hospital.” Furthermore, measles can become severe enough that it leads to pneumonia (a serious lung infection), lifelong brain damage, deafness and can be potentially fatal. According to the WHO, measles is also a leading cause of child blindness.
Most men and women who are against giving their children vaccinations, specifically the vaccination titled MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), believe that they can cause a number of health concerns such as ADHD and Autism. However, according to the CDC, “scientists in the United States and other countries have carefully studied the MMR shot. None has found a link between autism and the MMR shot.”
People having their own opinion and making their own choices is one of the greatest things about our country. However, there is something to be said about having an opinion or belief when that opinion or belief directly, negatively affects the health of someone else.