By Jakob Ronimous
Vaccines have become a hot topic recently, due to families refusing to vaccinate themselves and their children, citing health concerns. Many “Anti-Vaxxers” cite studies that show a link between children who have been vaccinated and Autism rates.
However, there are many reasons why scientists believe that the sources the “anti vaxxers” cite are not only false, but seriously dangerous to the people around them. In fact, the World Health Organization has classified vaccine hesitancy as one of their top ten threats to global health. This is especially apparent in states like North Carolina. According to The Washington Post, North Carolina had the worst chickenpox outbreak in two decades due to a large amount of the population being strongly against vaccinations.
The dangers of not being vaccinated can also extend past the person who wasn’t vaccinated. In fact, a lot of diseases like smallpox and measles are making a comeback in droves. Entire schools have recently been temporarily shut down because of health concerns. Dana Griffin, a health teacher for WCHS, spoke more about the health risks associated with not being vaccinated.
“It [vaccines] helps keep the people around you healthy, and helps you to not have an illness or spreading the illness to others,” Griffin said.
Vaccines are already required to be admitted to most public schools, but that doesn’t prevent the disease reaching other public spaces. In fact, according to the World Heath Organization, one child coughing can linger and infect others for up to 10 minutes after they’ve left, according to the Center for Disease Control. This is why it’s important for people to be vaccinated, especially people who go to public places such as work and school. Lisa Hudson, the Coordinator of Nursing Services for all of Clark-Pleasant, talked about the importance of being vaccinated.
“It’s an important way to keep you healthy and free from disease, and it’s important that people are immunized because some people are not able to be immunized, so if someone has a compromised immune system and can’t vaccinate you help them not get the disease,” Hudson said.
One solution to this problem is to have mandatory vaccines, without loopholes or alternative immunization schedules. However this solution has received criticism from people who don’t believe in vaccines and those who do. Nathaniel Survance, a senior and vaccinated student, explains his perspective on the ability to choose.
“It’s a free country. They [people who don’t vaccinate] are allowed to do what they decide is best but it’s incredibly irresponsible and we need more education on how it all works,” Survance said.
An article by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), which is the most commonly cited study against vaccines, has been retracted by 10 of the 13 authors who worked on the paper. Survance discussed this issue.
“Because they just don’t look at research. People only believe what they want to hear and we’re all guilty of it at some point. But when all of society is yelling at you that vaccines are safe and are good for you, along with many studies to back them up, it becomes redundant to argue otherwise,” Survance said.