Jeremy W. Harris
March 9, 2014
ITT Technical Institute
Why Vaccines are Beneficial to our Children, Community & Future
Whether to vaccinate your child or not has become a debatable issue for parents. More and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, leaving them susceptible to various diseases such as measles, mumps and pertussis. Diseases which controlled are now infecting and spreading throughout our communities. Now, instead of using cost-effective vaccines, people are spending money on medical care to treat these diseases. This also affects future generations because previously controlled diseases are returning faster and in greater numbers. Vaccines are very beneficial because they protect our children, the community and future generations.
Fewer and fewer parents now are choosing to vaccinate their children, mostly for fear of the child getting side effects from the vaccine. One of the major side effects parents fear is autism. Autism is defined as a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain, mostly causing language difficulties ( ). Although the causes of autism remain unknown, many parents choosing not to vaccinate their children are blaming Thimerosal-containing vaccines and receiving too many vaccines in one day. Thimerosal is a preservative used in vaccines, primarily multiple dose vials, to inhibit the growth of germs( ). Thimerosal is mercury based which leads parents to believe that this mercury product is causing autism. In 1999, the FDA decided to remove mercury from all products it oversees, including vaccines, as a precautionary measure. This action increases parents fear that thimerosal was causing children harm. However, according to an announcement made by the FDA in January 2011: Reputable scientific studies have shown that mercury in vaccines given to young children is not a cause of autism. The studies used different methods. Some examined rates of autism in a state or a country, comparing autism rates before and after thimerosal was removed as a preservative from vaccines. In the United States and other countries, the number of children diagnosed with autism has not gone down since thimerosal was removed from vaccines. (FDA, 2011)
Another fear of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children claims that the Center for Disease Control’s schedule of vaccines requires too many vaccines at too young of an age to be given. Parents fear this is another link to autism. Parents believed that too many vaccines on one day overwhelmed the child’s immune system and could possibly cause some long-term issues for the child. A study recently released by the Journal of Pediatrics, however, indicates that there is no link between receiving “too many vaccines too soon” and autism (Pediatrics, 2013). Delaying a child’s vaccine schedule has shown no difference in their development. The only thing delaying the vaccine schedule has shown is that it puts the child at a greater risk of contracting a vaccine preventable disease.
Vaccines have become more complex than in the past. Current vaccines use fewer antigens to cause an immunity response ( ). For example, the vaccine used for pertussis also known as the DTP, used the entire dead bacteria. This exposed the child to thousands of antigens. The current pertussis vaccine, also known as the DTaP, only uses 4-6 antigens from the cell. “Because of these sorts of improvements, fully vaccinated 2-year-olds are exposed to a total of 315 antigens, the study says. That's a drop in the bucket compared with the billions of microbes — from bacteria to yeast — that babies encounter in their first hours of life.” (Szabo, 2013)
Parents of unvaccinated children do not realize they are putting the community at risk of contracting these infectious diseases. Parents believe that if they