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Vaccines Are Not Deadly: Challenges Caused by Anti-vaccination Movement

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Medical
Wordcount: 1772 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Vaccines Are Not Deadly

What if vaccines didn’t exist, or if they existed and no one used them? Do you know that in order to eradicate a certain disease that has a cure through vaccines, each and every one of us has to take it? About 30% of Americans don’t think it’s necessary to get their children vaccinated. Do you have any idea how many diseases have been controlled due to vaccines? Many diseases including smallpox, rinderpest, polio, dracunculiasis, malaria, measles, and the list goes on. While vaccines may in the rarest of cases cause diabetes, ADHD, autism, ASD, and even lead to death in children, parents should get their children vaccinated because vaccines have led to the eradication of smallpox, they are safe and contain no harmful chemicals, and protects children from deadly diseases in the vast majority of the cases.

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Vaccines are made up of dead or weakened forms of a microbe. This microbe is injected into the body along with thimerosal. Thimerosal is a mercury-containing compound that prevents any growth of harmful bacteria or fungus in the vaccine. Once the vaccine is injected into the body, the body responds to the microbe in the vaccine by producing antibodies. This response is due to the fact that the microbe is foreign. As a result of this reaction, the patient that has been vaccinated is now immune to the disease. In the future, if this patient ever encounters anyone with the disease that they have been vaccinated for, they will not get sick, as their bodies have already produced the antibodies needed to fight the harmful bacteria.

 Anti-vaccinations movements have existed ever since the first vaccine was created by Edward Jenner in 1796. This vaccine was used to create an immunity to smallpox. When he created this vaccine, he was met with lots of criticism. The reasons for the criticism were many including sanitary, religious, scientific, and political problems (Opposition to Vaccines Has Existed as Long as Vaccinations Itself, par. 2). Due to much resistance, in 1853 the Vaccination Act made it mandatory for vaccination to infants up to 3 months’ old, otherwise, they would be charged with penalties (Opposition to Vaccines Has Existed as Long as Vaccinations Itself, par. 4). Over the years, while doctors try to come up with new vaccines to create immunity for different diseases many Anti-vaccination movements have been formed and they still continue to infect the environment with their movements today.

In recent years the anti-vaccination movements have claimed that there is a link between autism and vaccines. In the early 1900s, the rate of autism was significantly low and was estimated to about 1 in 10,000 people. In the past 20 years, the number of children diagnosed with autism has increased to a substantial amount. The number of cases of autism in children has increased by 78 percent in the past decade. Amongst other claims for this rise in autism, vaccines got the most scrutiny. The opposition of anti-vaccination movements claim about vaccines link to autism got more fuel in 1998, when Andrew Wakefield published his research, in which he claimed that the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccines are linked to autism in children (McCoy, par. 4). Andrew Wakefield claimed that the MMR vaccine was not properly tested before it was used, this resulted in the public being fearful and confused about getting their children vaccinated (Opposition to Vaccines Has Existed as Long as Vaccinations Itself, par. 13). Thimerosal in vaccines is also claimed to have a link to autism.

Vaccines and thimerosal don’t have any link to autism. In 2004 and 2011, the Institute of Medicine reviewed 1,200 studies and reported that the evidence showed no link between autism and vaccines (Evidence Shows Vaccines Unrelated to Autism, par. 3). The first signs of autism in children are noticed by the parent when they are 18-24 months old, by this time the child has already been given their childhood vaccinations, hence why parents confuse autism with vaccines (Evidence Shows Vaccines Unrelated to Autism, par. 7). The effects of vaccines on a child cannot explain the vast differences in brain function that exist between autistic and non-autistic children (Evidence Shows Vaccines Unrelated to Autism, par 8). Hence, it was concluded that autism and vaccines had no link, there was no evidence to how they were linked in the first place. Studies were carried out on children using vaccines with different amounts of thimerosal to see if thimerosal actually had a link with autism. The rate of autism in these children was in the same ratio no matter how much or little thimerosal the vaccine delivered contained (Evidence Shows Vaccines Unrelated to Autism, par. 13). Thus, thimerosal also has no link to autism in children.

Why are some Americans still skeptical about the safety of vaccines? Many parents are against the use of vaccines because they believe that the risks associated with vaccination are more threatening than the benefits that came from being vaccinated (“Vaccines” par.3). People also argue that being infected by the live virus is better, as the immunity from being injected by the live bacteria is better than developing immunity from a dead one. On the other hand, others also argue that vaccines aren’t effective. They say that even though their child has been given a flu shot, they still fall sick.

Why should you get vaccinated? The benefits of vaccine outweigh the risks. Vaccines have made a major contribution to global health. Smallpox and rinderpest have been eradicated. Although all vaccines have side effects, all of the side effects can be treated. Currently, there are vaccines for sixteen different diseases that can be prevented if vaccinated. The main benefit of getting your child vaccinated is so that they can be protected from acquiring preventable diseases Vaccines, par. 5). Getting yourself vaccinated also helps the overall health of the public because once you are vaccinated you won’t be contaminated with a disease and also will not be able to transmit it to someone who isn’t vaccinated. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics vaccines are 90-99% effective (Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children?, par. 4).  Furthermore, according to shot@life, “Vaccines save 2.5 million children from preventable diseases every year” (Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children?, par. 4). Many major organizations state that vaccines are safe. These organizations include the World Health Organization (WHO), Institute of Medicine (IOM), and many others (Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children?, par. 5).

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The probability of someone getting struck by lightning is a 100 times more likely than for someone to have an adverse effect due to vaccines, according to Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN and practicing neurosurgeon (Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children?, par. 7). Vaccines save time and money for the parent. The time to look after someone and the money required to buy all the medicines needed to cure the unvaccinated child is much more costly and strenuous than simply getting vaccinated.

Still not convinced about the benefits of vaccines? Imagine if your loved one acquired measles by coming into contact with the virus. They would suffer with a fever, dry cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, skin rashes and/or in severe cases pneumonia, blindness, and encephalitis. All of this suffering could have been avoided by simply getting vaccinated for measles. Kids are known to be playful and often get injured while playing. Imagine your child playing in the park and they fall and scratch themselves in the dust. Tetanus is a serious disease that can be acquired from dust, soil or manure. Tetanus can cause your child to have difficulty swallowing, make them more irritable and have uncontrollable spasms of the jaw. All though tetanus has no cure it can be controlled with a tetanus shot.

Overall, vaccines have no link to autism. They have helped save the lives of millions of people each year. They save kids from the deadliest of diseases by making them immune to it. Hopefully, the next time you go to the doctor and they ask you, if you would like to have your kid vaccinated, your reply is YES. Think about the future. There are many diseases in the world that don’t have a cure, but some can at least be prevented do through vaccines. We can eradicate these diseases, but only if everyone takes part in it by getting vaccinated. Not being vaccinated, not only puts you at risk but also those around you. DON’T BE SELFISH, GET VACCINATED!

Work cited

  • “Vaccines.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2018. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/PC3010999291/OVIC?u=sant99200&sid=OVIC&xid=67cc8755. Accessed 24 Jan. 2019.
  • McCoy, Charles. “Anti-vaccination beliefs don’t follow the usual political polarization.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2019. Opposing Viewpoints in
  • “Opposition to Vaccines Has Existed as Long as Vaccination Itself.” Vaccines, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2015. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010938203/OVIC?u=sant99200&sid=OVIC&xid=97de8bb5. Accessed 24 Jan. 2019. Originally published as “History of Anti-Vaccination Movements,”, 16 Jan. 2014.
  • “Evidence Shows Vaccines Unrelated to Autism.” Vaccines, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2015. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010938206/OVIC?u=sant99200&sid=OVIC&xid=efb68970. Accessed 24 Jan. 2019. Originally published in Immunization Action Coalition, Oct. 2014.
  • “Vaccines.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2018. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/PC3010999291/OVIC?u=sant99200&sid=OVIC&xid=67cc8755. Accessed 24 Jan. 2019.
  • ProCon.org. “Vaccines ProCon.org.” ProCon.org. 23 July 2018, vaccines.procon.org/


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