Outbreak Sheds Light on Vaccinations

The rate of medical success researchers have had with vaccines today should be a reason for every parent to vaccinate their children.

Measles in the United States: The CDC reported 644 cases of Measles in the U.S. in 2014, despite Measles being declared eliminated in 2000.
Measles in the United States: The CDC reported 644 cases of Measles in the U.S. in 2014, despite Measles being declared eliminated in 2000.

“Vaccines work by stimulating our immune system to produce antibodies (substances produced by the body to fight disease) without actually infecting us with the disease” according to the United Kingdom National Health Service.

“I do feel that it is best for people to be properly vaccinated.  This not only helps protect the person who is vaccinated but protects those people who truly cannot receive vaccines due to medical reasons,” said Kerri Lauchner, director of health services in an email interview.

The public has recently seen an outbreak of measles in America, which originated at Disneyland. This illness can be highly contagious and get passed from human to human via air, saliva or nasal secretions. During this outbreak, those without a vaccination for the measles run a  high chance of getting infected.

All children should be vaccinated for sicknesses like measles or they will not have the antibodies to successfully fight off the disease. This is important in densely populated areas like public schools.

“I think that they need to be [vaccinated] if they are going to be educated in the public school system,” said Jennifer Ellsworth, professor of anatomy and exercise science at California Lutheran University.

Vaccinations protect children from illness and outbreak in an area where illness spreads fast.

“We had diseases that were running rampant until we instilled the vaccines, and some diseases have actually been eradicated due to vaccines, they work,” Ellsworth said.

In the public and private school systems today mandatory vaccinations should be required for all children. The exception to this statement would be children with unique circumstances that cannot benefit from the vaccination, whether they were born immunosuppressed, HIV positive etc. As a possible alternative these students could be dismissed from school for the duration of an outbreak.

“I feel that unvaccinated students should be asked to not go to school if a case of a highly contagious and vaccine preventable disease is present at that school.  That action helps to protect the unvaccinated student as well as the vaccinated students,” Lauchner said in an email interview.

Some parents feel uneasy about getting their children vaccinated because of reports that get released such as the supposed link between vaccinations and autism. These types of medical articles have to be researched carefully for accuracy as they are not always factual.

“Studies, including a meta analysis of 1.2 million children this past December, show no link between vaccinations and autism. This is not a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact,” said Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an online article.

Parents that do not want to comply with school vaccination policy are increasing the risk of disease in other children that cannot, typically for medical reasons, get that specific vaccination.

“Those rules are there for a reason. Occasionally though you have to use common sense when all of a sudden that rule could potentially create more harm than good,” Ellsworth said.

Those that are not vaccinated merely because they are skeptical about vaccinations are also increasing the risk of giving themselves diseases that could have been avoided.

With this being said not all vaccinations turn out to be effective vaccinations so it is important to be informed on what you are agreeing to when you sign the consent form. Be sure to do research on the positives and negatives of every vaccination.

“You have to ask a physician first if there is any question that it wouldn’t be a safe thing to do,” Ellsworth said.

If we started shining light on the benefits of vaccinations and explaining them to the public maybe parents wouldn’t have second thoughts about vaccinating their children. The medical field should do its best to not inform citizens so that they will see the good in a vaccination by themselves and hopefully come around to preventing their kids from coming into contact with these harmful diseases.

Jennifer Birch
Staff Writer
Published February 11, 2015