Don’t opt out of a vaccine, help keep the environment safe

October 25, 2016

Jasmine Nelson

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     Vaccines have been deemed unnecessary by parents over the last 20 years.

     Up to 87 percent of pediatricians in 2013 said they met parents who refused to vaccinate their children, according to Pedatrics, which increased from 75 percent a decade earlier.

     But vaccines should not be looked down on. Vaccines are the greatest medical breakthrough in preventive medicine in human history, and many reasons exist as to why you and your children should get them.

     The World Health Organization stresses the importance of vaccinations to protect the community at large. People with a weak immune system who cannot receive vaccines or don’t have access to them, need to be around people who are vaccinated.

     This is called herd immunity.

     When the majority of the herd is immune to a virus, it is much less likely the virus will spread to unvaccinated members. When it becomes trendy to skip vaccinations, preventable disease outbreaks occur, putting those people with weaker immune systems in danger.

     This is important because vaccines teach your body how to fight viruses.

     Viruses inject genetic material into your cells and reprogram them to produce more copies of the virus, destroying your cells in the process.

     These viruses then spread to more of your cells and carry out the same procedure. This is how a viral infection spreads rapidly.

     Different viruses can remain dormant for years and become active unexpectedly, like the shingles virus, which is stored in your body indefinitely after contracting the chicken pox.

     A vaccine contains dead, or extremely weakened copies of a given virus. They cannot make you sick because they are not functional.

     Your immune system defends your body, it recognizes the virus and creates antibodies.

     This is the process your body goes through naturally during a real viral infection.

     If your body already had to produce antibodies in response to a harmless vaccine, you are ready to stop the infection before even noticing symptoms.

     Considering this, you cannot be infected by a properly-manufactured vaccine. You may have a mild reaction, but you have not been given an active form of the virus and therefore will not be sick.

     But with all the misinformation, the health industry can incite suspicion. A lot of people wonder, “why is there mercury in our vaccines if mercury is highly toxic?”

     According to the Center for Disease Control, mercury is a component in a vaccine preservative that prevents the growth of bacteria.

     The type of mercury used in this preservative is processed and expelled by the body quicker than the highly toxic type in large amounts.

     Skepticism also surrounds the idea that vaccines make money for pharmaceutical companies. These companies make money by preventing devastating diseases.

     Most insurance plans pay for vaccines. Those enrolled in a new health plan after Sept. 23, 2010 are not required to pay a deductible or co-payment for preventive vaccinations, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

     Another infamous conspiracy theory is that vaccines will give your child autism, even though this fi nding has been thoroughly discredited.

     While instances of autism spectrum disorders are rising, the use of vaccines in children has been decreasing, making it difficult and unproductive to justify placing the blame on vaccinations, according to the CDC.

     Misinformation can spread like a disease, and it is important that we consider the facts, educate ourselves and realize that another person’s health is just as important as ours.

     Regardless of whether any of this resonates with you, here are some of the diseases many of you haven’t died from: small pox, the measles, polio, whooping cough, rubella and the mumps.