Good health, to most, is essential to a comfortable life. Since maintaining our health is at times an arduous task, we turn to the professionals within the field, namely doctors, to guide us by taking care of our bodies.
Yet, some (misinformed) parents are refusing to allow their children to get much needed vaccines that help prevent the spread of dangerous diseases such as measles and polio. This is a scary and dangerous trend for everyone in the country, and the world, because the more that people begin to reject vaccines, the greater the threat of the preventable diseases returning.
The main source of the wrongful rejection of vaccines was a paper written by Andrew Wakefield and twelve other scientists. According to Brian Deer, a journalist for the British Medical Journal, not only did the paper provide weak links between Measles Mumps, Rubella Vaccine and autism in children, Wakefield was also being paid to purport his findings. Richard Barr, a lawyer, was attempting to raise a class action lawsuit against companies that gave out the vaccine. So in 1998, what better evidence could Barr have had against the MMR Vaccine than a paper stating it caused perfectly healthy children to develop autism?
It was a sad exploitation indeed, and unfortunately, one with far graver ramifications than money in Wakefield’s pocket or the lawsuit Barr had been waiting for.
In other words, to a degree, because of the rejection of vaccines within the United States and the United Kingdom, citizens within those countries are spreading completely preventable diseases to other countries. Often times, those countries are underdeveloped ones who do not have the proper medical equipment to deal with the outbreaks.
If there were a real concrete link between any vaccine and autism in children, it would follow that the next step should be to discontinue the vaccine’s administration. If a proper project had been put together with real in-depth research about the issue, it would make sense to join in on the rejection of vaccines. If, as science and social research should be empirical, this paper was followed by several others indicating similar results, the only pragmatic decision would be to eliminate the vaccine causing autism in children.
However, the paper and research was all deemed fraudulent, and was withdrawn by those who proposed it after their lies were uncovered. For whatever reason, there are disturbing amounts of people who wish to ignore this inconvenient fact.
It is reminiscent of certain politicians swatting down healthier menu options in schools because they should be allowed to do whatever they want – even if it includes eating themselves into the worst obesity epidemic this country has ever seen. These politicians are not unintelligent people overall. They understand the consequences of eating unhealthy food, yet they value the idea of being in control of their actions over doing what is right for the youth of the country.
Yes, a parent could take their child to McDonald’s every day for a decade and not encourage them to exercise. They could, but any self-respecting person knows that they should not.
It is time to take off the blinders and appreciate the problems that will follow the continued irresponsible act of preventing children from receiving vaccines. Just as in the case of the fast food, parents can still reject the vaccines; but the smart, forward thinking citizens of the country know that they should not.
David is a sports communications major from Skokie. He is the sports staff reporter.
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