Vaccines, Autism, and the Anti-vax Movement: Part 3

Welcome to the last part of my series of posts on the anti-vaccination movement. I apologise for the delay in posting this part, it had to take a backseat to real life. Part 1 here, Part 2 here

It might seem harmless when people believe in silly things. But when their beliefs have the ability to cause harm to others then we have a problem. Most of the time people decide not to vaccinate their children they fall prey to bad logic, and don’t necessarily have all the information they need to make a properly informed decision.  They might be strong believers in “alternative medicine” (no such thing, there is medicine that has been scientifically tested and proven to be effective, and there is everything else), think vaccines have too many “toxins” or cause Autism, or maybe they are strong believers in the big pharma conspiracy (where is my check?). None of these reasons are truly valid if you look at the consequences of their actions.

One common misconception about vaccines is that you are totally immune to something after you get the vaccine. If you get a flu vaccine you can still get the flu, but your recovery time will be a lot less than if you did not get the vaccine. The same can apply to the MMR vaccine. Even if you get the vaccine you can still get measles, mumps, or rubella. That is why we need herd immunity. This is what happens when over 95 percent of a population gets vaccinated. The disease or virus can no longer sustain itself in a population and basically disappears.

What has been happening recently in the U.K., Australia, and now the U.S.  is the vaccine rates are dropping below the 95 percent mark in some areas. This has lead to something that hasn’t happened in many years in those areas: Measles outbreaks. Measles are nasty. Check out these pictures on google (WARNING: very graphic). This is not a nice thing to do to people.

NPR has an article about the outbreaks in the U.S.

This is what happens when you (or others) do not vaccinate your children. These vaccines are not just for you or your children, they are for everyone. They are a very important health measure to protect the entire population from these highly infectious and dangerous diseases. What has been happening in the recent measles outbreaks is someone who has been exposed to measles (and measles is a highly contagious disease) travels to a community where the vaccination rate is low. This person might not even get measles, just carry it. They come into contact with people in this community and because the herd immunity rate is below 95 percent it begins to spread. This affects the entire community. Schools might have to close, many people need to be tested and quarantined. It is not a good situation to be in. Vaccination save lives, its as simple as that.

Below is a list of resources about vaccines and Autism.

CDC Autism page

CDC Vaccines page

Philadelphia Children’s Hospital Vaccine Safety FAQs

Science Based Medicine’s Vaccines Resource Page

Omnibus Autism hearings

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) (Here you can find information about cases of preventable diseases. Here is an example of a report)

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