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Should You

The reasons why some are taking the misinformed decision not to, and
why you ultimately should.
Written by: Emily C. Snell for Mary Milies English 138T Class for Parents magazine for new
parents.
Date Published: April 12, 2016

question that has always come across my mind when thinking


of medicine and its applications is how exactly did my parents
know to vaccinate me? Among my friends, most of us are
vaccinated, but an emerging trend among new parents is to

abstain from vaccinating their children. In this generation, it is common


practice to use alternative, natural substitutes for chemical medications,
and it has actually extended to vaccinations that prevent fatal disease. A
common thought among these parents is that the disease is so rare, if

present at all, that their child would actually be at risk if administered the
vaccination in question. Well, speaking as to what I know, vaccines are more
than just protecting one life, they serve to eradicate the disease in question.
So, should you participate in this denial of life-saving vaccination? Lets talk
about it.
Vaccines are among the ten greatest public health achievements of the
past century, simply stated they are the most effective weapons ever
developed for the prevention of serious infectious diseases. Over the past
years, some of the greatest and strongest vaccines have been discovered.
This has also borne witness to a rising volume of public protests against the
routine use of these vaccinations. A term, vaccinophobia is even
sometimes used to describe the extreme whole-hearted denial of vaccines
and their use. Immunization rates remain high even though these parents
refuse to vaccinate their children. Numbers have increased by four percent in
2009 alone. Due to the success of the vaccine itself, parental concern has
shifted from disease prevention to the actual vaccine safety. Vaccination is
almost always met by confusion, anxiety, suspicion, and mistrust of the
implications of the vaccine. Social media has made this even easier to
propagate, making this trend more common and causing it to grow. This also
allows information to spread and cause parents and others to misinterpret
this incorrect information regarding vaccinations. With this denial and
postponed vaccination procedure, certain diseases that have previously been
deemed eradicated have resurfaced, causing outbreaks.

Groups of those unvaccinated were seem to be in households where


the physician has no influence in their decision not to vaccinate, meaning the
unvaccinated child will remain unvaccinated throughout his or her life. (Jana
L.) Parents have given various reasons as to why they refrain from
vaccinating their children, including erroneous beliefs about
contraindications, not wanting to expose children to perceived dangers of
vaccines, and not wanting to deliberately expose healthy children to
diseases. This study also showed that parents prefer to make errors of
omission rather than errors of commission and that they may find it easier to
accept natural risks rather than man-made risks. (Fredrickson DD) This is
just a fancy way of saying parents would rather accept their children getting
the disease naturally than from injecting their child with the vaccination
containing the disease. Some also disagree with conventional medicine
practices and decide to otherwise believe in natural healing, believing it to
be more beneficial to expose their children to diseases, build up their

immune systems, and get over them naturally. (Fredrickson DD) In this,
parents will claim that administering so many vaccinations at once would
overwhelm the immune system. Although this may have made sense to
them, science proves this incorrect. Most vaccines contain far fewer than 100
antigens, so the estimated number of vaccines a child could respond is
conservative. Using this estimate, scientists have predicted that if 11
vaccines were given to infants at one time, about 0.1% of their immune
system is used up. But, the cells that the immune system uses to respond
to these vaccines are constantly replenished, so there really is no using up
of the immune system, thus the immune system cannot technically
experience overwhelm. (Offi t PA) These conclusions are supported by the
observation that children respond to multiple vaccines given at the same
time in a manner similar to individual vaccines. It was also explained that
infants have an amazing capacity to respond to an incredibly vast array of
antigens. (Chatterjee A) Metabolism in infantry is extremely high, which is
why they grow so fast at such an exponential rate. This is also why vaccines
should be administered at this time. As the metabolism causes growth of an
infant to grow exponentially, metabolism thus slows down at an exponential
rate. Thus, waiting a few years or even a few months could cause dramatic
effects. Vaccinated children are not at a greater risk of subsequent infections
with other pathogens than unvaccinated children. (Offi t PA)
A common misconception among those parents refusal to vaccinate is
that the diseases are eradicated. For a disease to be declared eliminated

means that there is an absence of continuous disease transmission for 12


months or more in a specific geographic area. But, every year, there are
more and more cases of these infectious diseases. This is because visitors
who are unvaccinated bring the disease back into the country. This being
said, we can never truly declare a disease eradicated because of its presence
in other countries. Vaccinations should not stop once a disease is declared
eliminated for this reason. If parents refuse to vaccinate their children, these
diseases could spread like wildfire once reintroduced into the country.
(Frequently) Another misconception is that vaccines are not safe. This is
completely false. Very serious health events post-immunization are very rare
and are carefully monitored and investigated. The World Health Organization
states you are far more likely to be seriously injured by a vaccinepreventable disease than from the disease itself. (The Choice) Parents
sometimes decide to schedule their own vaccinations due to the
overwhelming of the immune system theory. The center for disease
controls job is to make this schedule of when and how vaccines should be
administered. This schedule has been researched and tested by the
government and health authorities worldwide to be approved,
recommended, and the most effective administration technique. For
example, delaying the measles vaccine can have increased risk of adverse
effects. Every time you call 911, ride in an ambulance, go to the doctor or
visit the emergency room, you must alert medical personnel of your childs
vaccination status so he or she can receive the distinctive treatment.

Unvaccinated children cannot receive some of the treatment that is usual


and common for emergencies, due to their weakened immune system from
lack of exposure to vaccinations. Unvaccinated children require much more
testing. Most practice guidelines require multiple blood tests, which require
an IV, urine testing, a chest x-ray, and, depending on the childs age,
possible a lumbar puncture. Based on those results, children are sometimes
then treated with antibiotics via another injection, and then have to see their
primary care physician within 24 hours to continue the antibiotics and have
more blood tests. In the ER, children are evaluated based on the differences
in how high of a risk children are at for invasive bacterial infections. For
children who are unvaccinated, some estimates as high as 5-8% have a
serious infection in their bloodstream compared to those who are vaccinated
that only have serious bacterial infections 0.001% of the time. This goes to
show just how seriously vaccines can improve the immune system of your
child. (The Consequence)
Along with these many medical and health risks, there are also social
risks associated. These vary from exclusion to quarantine. If sick or exposed
to disease, your child may need to be isolated from others because of their
lack of vaccination and immunity to the disease at risk. If there is an
outbreak, you may be asked to keep your child at home from risk of
exposure. Along these lines is the importance of receiving an annual flu
vaccine. The flu remains a threat that is persisting in the world today.
(Department of Health)

Among these scientific results and physician opinions, the decision to


vaccinate your child is obvious. Unless immunocompromised, children should
receive vaccinations on the CDC schedule. If, however, you are concerned
about certain vaccinations, talking to a physician or another medically
advanced person who has keen knowledge on the circumstance is highly
recommended. Vaccines not only impact the life that it protects from the
disease, but the entire community that you are living in. When one person is
unvaccinated, they can bring a lethal disease into the country. Vaccinations
should be implemented into the life of an early child in order to guarantee
immunity.

References
Chatterjee A, OKeefe C. Current controversies in the USA regarding vaccine safety.
Expert Rev Vaccines.
2010;9(5):497502
"Department of Health." The Harm of Skipping Vaccinations or Delaying. N.p., n.d.
Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
Fredrickson DD, Davis TC, Arnold CL, et al. Childhood immunization refusal: provider
and parent
perceptions. Fam Med. 2004;36(6):4319.
"Frequently Asked Questions about Measles in the U.S." Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Oct. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
Jana L. Dont take the benefits of vaccines for granted. 2011. Omaha World Herald,
12 Apr 2011.
Offi t PA, Quarles J, Gerber MA, et al. Addressing parents concerns: do multiple
vaccines overwhelm or
weaken the infants immune system? Pediatrics. 2002;109(1):1249.
"The Choice Not To Vaccinate Doesn't Only Affect You!" Vaccines Today. N.p., n.d.
Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
"The Consequences of Refusing Vaccines - Voices For Vaccines." Voices For Vaccines.
N.p., 02 June 2013.
Web. 11 Apr. 2016.