One shot away from immunity

One+shot+away+from+immunity

Cartoon courtesy of Catherine Lin

Vaccines have a status almost equal to that of a rite of passage. From the moment a child is born, he or she immediately undergoes the Hepatitis B vaccine and takes nine more successive vaccinations up until the age of 18 months.

However, several parents and organizations argue that excessive vaccinations, particularly the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination, can cause bowel problems and autism in children. This line of thinking is not only factually incorrect, but unsafe to other children and adults as a whole.

“I think that the only reason why [vaccines wouldn’t be administered] would be if it was medically unsafe not to, like someone who has leukemia, or if a child is under the age of six months,” anatomy teacher Adam Atallah said.

This concept of “herd immunity” refers to the theory that those who are immunized provide protection for those who are not immunized through containment of a disease. Without “herd immunity,” individuals with autoimmune conditions or those who are too young to be vaccinated would not have any protection from life-threatening conditions like polio or measles, leaving them at risk of serious injury or death.

Additionally, the fear that vaccines relate to autism, which many people profess as a reason for not vaccinating children, is rooted in bad science and a statistically incorrect project, showing correlation, but not causation.

“After analyzing this extraordinarily thoroughly, it’s quite clear to me that [these findings] came from one fraudulent study of a very small number of people in Europe, England I think, that has been completely debunked a thousand times over, and every test after has found no link between autism and vaccines,” statistics teacher Geoff Tipper said.

The study that Tipper refers to is that of British doctor Andrew Wakefield, who conducted a study that found a possible new syndrome linked to autism, bowel syndrome and the MMR vaccine in a study of 12 children. The parents of the children were later found to be paid by a lawyer conducting a lawsuit against a vaccine company, leading to the removal of Wakefield’s license, according to a report by The Sunday Times. Additional studies performed with more children to be more statistically accurate found no connection between the MMR vaccine and autism, debunking Wakefield’s study once and for all.

Ultimately, vaccines represent some of the greatest innovations in medical technology, and to deny their access to children not only poses a risk to the safety of countless people, but also brings back once “extinct” diseases.