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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Columns

Vaccines are tried and true boons to society


A few years ago, the vaccine debate was alive and well, with people arguing how much say a parent should have in his or her decision to not administer vaccines to children. Eight years with a pro-vaccine president seems to have caused repercussions, as the Trump administration seems to be correlating the rise in autism with vaccinations. There is no such correlation.  

Without vaccines, society would not be where it is today. Contrary to what many anti-vaxxers claim, a world with vaccines is significantly better than a world without them.

However, while the mental consequences of measles, mumps and rubella vaccines have been debated for as long as they’ve been around, another reason for not vaccinating has existed on the fringe of the issue.

A woman in the U.K. argued before a court that vaccinations are “unavoidably unsafe,” Broadly reported. Vaccinating her kids goes against her beliefs as a vegan, as many vaccines are made with animals products, or even grown inside fertilized chicken eggs.

While plant-based vaccines are being developed, many people who choose to be vegan weigh the risks and potential benefits—not having their children contract Hep-B, the flu or chickenpox—for vaccination.

The presiding judge forced the mother, whose case was brought against her by the childrens’ father, to vaccinate the two boys.

The argument for choosing not to administer vaccines stems from distrust in the government, and the potential for harmful metals to exist in vaccines.

In reality, vaccines undergo rigorous testing before being administered —more than 15 million children took part in the MMR research, and researchers found no apparent link to autism, a fear that seems prevalent to people who are anti-vaccination.

While it’s hard to argue against someone’s vegan lifestyles, it’s much easier to counter the other argument by looking at the data and seeing that there is no cause for worry. For some reason, people continue to refute the fact that vaccines are helpful. Look no further than Australia to see how measles outbreaks could be prevented with vaccinations.

Fears surrounding what vaccines contain and what complications they cause are persistent. They allow completely curable, preventable diseases to affect those most vulnerable: the young, the old and the ill. Those with susceptible immune systems are more at risk, but studies show that the parents of young children are the ones who aren’t taking the necessary precautions.

Vaccines are made to protect, and scientists are working to make them available to those who have varying beliefs. When an affected person can’t make the decision for themselves, however, like in the case of the U.K. mother and her two boys, to what extent does personal choice override the state’s ability to monitor the health of its people?

Vaccines are used to control mass breakouts of illnesses, like flu or measles. One person’s choice to vaccinate could affect the health of many, and the line between personal freedom and national health is thin.

Columnist Jackie Wostrel is a public relations freshman and can be reached at [email protected]

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