Confusion With Vaccinations Lead to Children’s Deaths


Illustration by Jacob Mays
Illustration by Jacob Mays

“Vaccinations will kill your children!” the media shouts at the millions of worried parents in the U.S.
It is flu season, so sickness is at its peak, and many unvaccinated children roam the infected hallways of elementary and preschools. Shooting chemicals into your infant’s body from the time they are born is sometimes a hard concept for parents. And yes, we do not know for sure how our bodies will react to the chemicals in any given vaccine. But vaccinations are life saving in many cases. Massive debates are based around this concept in the media, online and, in the minds of hundreds of scientists and parents.
Jenny McCarthy, former playboy bunny, has a son named Evan, who was diagnosed with autism. She took a study by Dr. Wakefield that links vaccinations to autism and publicized it.
According to National Geographic, these studies were faulty, but many people still believed them. She said that the required vaccinations gave her son autism. Many children later died because their parents chose not to vaccinate them against certain illnesses. The autism theory has been discredited and Dr. Wakefield lost his license, but there are other side effects that can be brought about with vaccinations.
Since it is wintertime, it is cold, dry and will often times bring sickness upon us. Not only is it flu season, but more severe illnesses are roaming schools. Especially in a school environment, with many people in close contact, young children are much more susceptible to sickness that can be prevented with the immunizations required to enter kindergarten.
The state of Michigan requires the Polio, DTap, MMR Hepatitis B, and Varicella (chickenpox) for a child to enter kindergarten. Yet some students are exempt due to religious and philosophical beliefs, or health problems. Because of these allowed exemptions, many children have gotten sick, and put other children in danger. This where the debate is fueled, should these exemptions be allowed?
Vaccination requirement could be seen a violation of personal freedoms thus creating a controversy surrounding a person’s vital rights. The state of Michigan allows exemptions for religious beliefs and health problems as do many other states, but Michigan is only one of 17 states that allow exemption to vaccinations based on philosophical, personal or conscientiously held beliefs. This basically discredits the “requirement” for vaccinations, because anybody can say that they don’t believe in vaccinating their children.
In Michigan, and the other states that allow philosophical exemptions, people are able to take advantage of the system. They are able to choose whether or not to have their child vaccinated, even though it is in fact required.
All parents want what is best for their child and this topic is a huge decision in parenting. Nobody wants to put their child in harm’s way and that is why many people choose to have their children vaccinated, and many people don’t.
With vaccinations, and any medicine in that case, you always run a risk. This is the major reason parents are uncomfortable with vaccinating their young children. The perpetual risk of an allergic reaction or the body not responding properly to a vaccination is a valid concern. Because vaccinations are still fairly recent in comparison to human life, we don’t have one hundred percent certainty that there are no risks to vaccinating children.
However, many parents believe that every young child, regardless of the exemptions, should be vaccinated for the well being of other children. If a child is sent to school without their proper vaccinations, they have a much higher chance of developing and spreading illnesses. Unvaccinated children, due to parental fear, have created a resurgence of diseases such as whooping cough and the measles. .
According to Beth Sokol, in 1952, three thousand people died from polio, and in 1950, thirty-four thousand died of tuberculosis. The goal of vaccinations is to prevent the resurgence of illnesses and to save thousands of lives. That could be completely preventable with the absolute requirement of vaccinations. The personal decision to have a child vaccinated or not can have a deadly effect on the children that they are in contact with.
There will not be a time in the next 10 years that both side will be able to come to a consensus. So there must be a compromise made regarding this controversial topic. When considering legal exemptions for the state of Michigan; health reasons are completely necessary and even religious reasons have a point. But philosophical exemptions are slightly unnecessary. Philosophical, or also your own personal beliefs make the “requirement” a lot less strict. This discredits the “requirement” and basically allows parents to have a choice to vaccinate rather than have a requirement.
If the State of Michigan takes away the right of philosophical exemptions, people with serious health problems won’t be put in danger, and the right of freedom of religion will not be violated. All other people will be required to vaccinate their children, this could decrease number of illnesses and quite possibly abolish the measles and whooping cough.
With this policy we would be joining a number of other states that do not allow philosophical exemptions; we would have severely healthier kids and we would not be discriminating against religious views, or putting any child that holds a health problem in danger.
Parents are often misguided by what they hear or see in the public. Vaccinations have many positive and some negative side effects that really help lead a person to the decision whether to vaccinate their child or not. Allowing religious and health exemptions decreases the number of children not getting vaccinated, while not ignoring basic personal freedoms. Conversely, not allowing philosophical exemptions, more children will go unvaccinated and children will risk serious illness.
Vaccinations and the decision to get a child vaccinated is a serious decision, but sometimes for the well-being of others, policies should be enforced. Lives could be saved.