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Karinne Riesenberg
ENG 1201.515
Glena Madden
July 18, 2015
The Importance of Vaccinations
I can remember growing up and being petrified of going to the doctor because it usually
meant I had to get a hurt in my arm. Meaning, I had to get a shot. Well now that I am 20 years
old, I understand why my mom put me through what I thought was horrible, three-second prick.
Not only was this the case for me but also for my two younger brothers also. One of which has
High-Functioning Autism. About a year ago, I remember a lady asking my mom at her work
what she thought about the vaccine debate that related vaccines to children with autism and if she
thought that that was the reason that my brother had autism. I can remember my mom shook her
head with disbelief and said Absolutely not. I am protecting my children from harmful things
out there. I want them healthy. Ever since that day, I have been very interested in wanting to
know more about vaccines and the effects they are causing on todays society and the health care
field. Especially since I am going into the field of nursing.
Vaccinations are a killed or weakened organism that produces immunity in the body
against an organism through an injection and are claimed to be important to our health. Diseases
that used to be common in this country and around the world, including polio, measles,
diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella, mumps, tetanus, and rotavirus can now be
prevented by vaccination. Thanks to a vaccine, one of the most terrible diseases in history,
smallpox, no longer exists outside the laboratory. Over the years vaccines have prevented

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countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives (Centers for Disease and Prevention).
But in todays society, many people would say otherwise. People are choosing not to vaccinate
their children for several reasons and for that, our society is suffering from diseases that were
dormant now making an outbreak. Vaccinations are important because they protect our immune
systems from harmful diseases and knowing the importance can help parents better understand as
to why they need to vaccinate their children to protect not only them but others in our society
also.
So why should people vaccinate their children at an early age? Well according to the
website for The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children should be vaccinated at an
early age because it builds up their immune system. Having a strong immune system is very
important in a child. They can handle a small amount of a weakened or killed antigen of a
disease that allows the body to build up immunity rather than being stricken with a full dosage of
the alive virus and not being able to fight the disease because the immune system hasnt been
built up yet.
Pediatricians push parents to have their children vaccinated and to realize the importance
of vaccinating their child. While most doctors in the United States and in the world agree with
having children vaccinated and realize the importance, there are some doctors who are not too
fond of vaccinating. According to the Journal, Vaccine Controversies written by the CQ
Researcher, a small group of scientists question the safety of vaccines claiming that they can
cause severe adverse reactions. They also oppose that vaccines should not be mandatory for
illnesses like chickenpox and hepatitis B. In addition, some scientists say that producing
genetically engineered vaccines without knowing the long-term side effects is foolish. But drug
makers and health officials say there is no proof of a causal relationship between vaccinations

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and severe adverse reactions and that maintaining public health is important and that is why the
push for vaccines is mandatory (Vaccine Controversies).
Just like a small percentage of scientists being suspicious of vaccinating children, there is
another group that feels the same way. Their title, parents. Many parents choose not to vaccinate
their children. Many cannot afford a type of health insurance to provide them with a doctor to
meet their health needs. However, according to The Vaccine War, the majority of the reason
people are not vaccinating their children is the claiming that it is harmful and detrimental to their
childs health. Parents are influenced by propaganda and social media Facebook, Twitter, and
YouTube - that tell them that vaccines cause more bad than good (The Vaccine War). Many
people feel that it can cause injury to their child and even autism.
A was study done by Brian Hooker, who is a biomedical engineer stated that there was a
connection between the MMR vaccines that African-American boys received before the age of
two and their diagnoses of autism. However, the CDC said otherwise. The study done by Brian
Hooker has since been removed from the public domain pending further investigation.
In 2004, scientists at the CDC National Immunization Program published their study in
the journal Pediatrics. Researchers compared 624 children with autism, age 3 to 10, with 1,824
developmentally healthy children. Most of the children were vaccinated between 12 and 17
months of age by vaccination recommendations. The CDC study authors found no link between
the age children were given the MMR vaccination and autism diagnoses nor did they find a
statistically significant increased risk for a particular racial group (Autism and Vaccine Study
Results Questioned). To this day, there still has been no credible link between the MMR measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and autism.

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Some people with children who have autism do not even agree with the critics who
believe autism is caused by vaccines. A personal interview done with Kathleen Riesenberg, a
parent who has a child with autism states I think its ridiculous that people think that by
vaccinating their child they are hurting them or causing them to have autism. My child was born
this way. Vaccinating my child and my other children were for the protection of their health.
Keeping my kids healthy is my number one priority and that is why I chose to vaccinate them.
When later asked if she has been influenced by peoples opinions and claims on the issue, she
state Absolutely not. Have I done research on the relation between the two, yes, but there is no
link and even if there was, I would still vaccinate and tell people to vaccinate because its
protecting them from things much more harmful than autism. People ask me if I regret
vaccinating my child. I shake my head with disbelief and just say no my child was born this way
and thats that. (Riesenberg). She opposes the critics for the sake of her childrens health as
well as other peoples health. But many individuals do not think this way.

Figure 1 Map showing how decreased vaccination rates are effecting the states in the U.S.

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The choices that people are making when not vaccinating their children are not only
putting their child at risk, but others too and its having an effect on society. In Figure 1 above, it
shows the decrease of children receiving the MMR vaccine and how it is effecting the amount of
measles cases within the U.S. In January 2105, the United States experienced a large multi-state
measles outbreak linked to an amusement park, Disneyland, in California. The outbreak was
caused by a person or persons who had been overseas and brought back the virus. The majority
of the people who had the virus were unvaccinated (Centers for Disease and Protection).
Because of the major outbreak, schools became worried as kids could spread the virus much
easier in a school classroom environment, and because of this, many schools chose to send
unvaccinated children home. Some parents were not influenced at all by the schools actions and
one parent in particular, Crystal McDonald, stated, Absolutely not! I would rather she miss a
whole semester of school than get a vaccine. (Vaccine Critics Turn Defensive Over Measles).
Our society will continue to suffer and these outbreaks with increase if people continue to
not vaccinate their children. They are putting their children at harm and other peoples children at
harm too. In the book Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All,
infectious-disease expert Paul Offit takes a look behind the curtain of the anti-vaccine
movement. What he finds is a reminder of the power of scientific knowledge, and the harm we
risk if we ignore it (p. 191). Weve reached a tipping point, Dr. Offit writes. Children are
suffering and dying because their parents are more frightened by vaccines than by the diseases
they prevent. (p. 191). He later goes on to talk about how if this movement continues, our
population will start to decrease and suffer to extremes. This is why people need to know why it
is so important when it comes to vaccinating their children.

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Growing up I never understood why my mom was putting me through such torcher of
getting a needle put into my arm but now I understand why she made me get that little pinch of
discomfort. Doctors worldwide continue to push parents to have their children vaccinated.
Vaccinations are important because they protect our immune systems from harmful diseases and
knowing the importance can help parents better understand as to why they need to vaccinate their
children to protect not only them, but others in our society also. The importance of vaccines will
continue to be a topic of discussion for years to come and there will always be a debate about it
due to the critics that argue against it just like in every real - world topic. But spreading the
importance and sharing the statistics from the major problems that the anti-vaccinated movement
is causing to society will hopefully become an eye opener to those against vaccines and make
them realize that a vaccine actually causes more good than harm.

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Work Cited
Goldschmidt, Debra. Autism and Vaccine Study Results Questioned- CNN.com. CNN. Cable
News Network, 28 Aug. 2014. Web. 28 June 2015.
Healy, Jack and Michael Paulson. Vaccine Critics Turn Defensive Over Measles. The NY
Times. N.p., 30 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 June 2015.
Offit, Paul A. Deadly Choices: How the AntiVaccine Movement Threatens Us All. New York:
Basic, 2011. Print.
Riesenberg, Kathy. Personal Interview. 28 June 2015.
The Vaccine War. Dir. Jon Palfreman. PBS, 2010.
Vaccine Controversies. CQ Researcher 25 Aug. 2000: 631-72. Web. 28 June 2015.
Vicens, AJ, and Gabrielle Canon. "Where Have Vaccination Rates Decreased?" Mother Jones.
N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2015.
Why Are Childhood Vaccines So Important? Centers for Disease and Prevention. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, 19 May 2014. Web. 28 June 2015.