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The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The true public detriment of the anti-vaccination movement

Diseases that have long been under control have seen a vast outbreak across the U.S. as an anti-vaccine phenomenon has allowed these once tamed diseases to make a roaring comeback.

Although vaccination rates against the majority of diseases are around 90 percent, an anti-vaccination trend is growing with the help of religious and philosophical state exemptions. Specifically, states such as Idaho, Michigan, Oregon and Vermont have seen the rate of unvaccinated kindergarteners for non-medical reasons soar four times above the national average. In particular, measles has been one disease that the country has widely controlled since the early 20th century, where more than 500,000 cases were seen on average each year.

After the introduction of a vaccine in 1967, the country has kept the amount of confirmed measles cases well below the 200 mark. However, if the anti-vaccine movement gains headway and continues to become a widespread belief, the country could potentially see one of the most tamed contagious diseases go from a small town annoyance to a nationwide assassin.

The numbers may not seem staggering because they currently aren’t, but a movement such as this one has far greater implications than what lies on the surface. Infants too young to be vaccinated, children with developing immune systems and those who can’t be vaccinated for medical purposes are the ones with the highest risk of exposure if this type of trend persists.

In most cases, people who have not been vaccinated are becoming infected from people outside of the United States traveling into the country. Coupled with this new movement is the added publicity from celebrities such as actress Jenny McCarthy and TV star Kristen Cavallari. In small communities all across the country, people are making dangerous decisions to opt out of vaccinating their children, due to the disproven fear that these vaccines supposedly cause autism and other harm.

An anti-vaccine trend much like the current one has raised many questions in the process. Most importantly, this specific case has exemplified the growing amount of distrust towards the federal government and the pharmaceutical companies that are in charge of creating these vaccines. Even though the decision to not vaccinate your children is unwise, the greater issue is trying to understand and fix the distrust that has surfaced between the government, pharmaceutical companies and citizens.

Everyone has created the idea in their head that “it won’t happen to me,” but the problem with that outlook is the sole fact that it can happen to you, and it will happen if the proper precautions are not taken to help deter preventable diseases from spreading rapidly. Families aren’t the only ones at fault, as in some cases schools don’t require students under a certain age to be vaccinated, which in return causes them to be highly susceptible and easily exposed when these diseases are brought into their communities.

However, the Illinois Department of Public Health requires that any child entering kindergarten or the first grade to be vaccinated for Diphtheria, Tetanus and the Pertussis (DTP or DTaP) vaccine. Sooner or later something must be done to debunk the myth that not vaccinating your children is the proper thing to do.

Countless cases of healthy children exposed to measles and experiencing the horrendous aftermaths have popped up all over the country; however, people have held tight to the thought that vaccination isn’t the answer.

Whether the responsibility should fall to the government or pharmaceutical companies to ensure the population that vaccination is necessary, a course of action must be taken before this phenomenon morphs itself into the pandemic of the new world.

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