Opinion: Vaccinations are needed to eradicate diseases
In light of the recent cases of measles across 10 states and a declared state of emergency in Washington state, vaccinations are in the spotlight once again.
The Center for Disease Control has confirmed these cases and said the disease is affecting those who either have not been vaccinated for measles at all or have not received the second dose. The CDC found that the vaccine is 97 percent effective when both doses are administered.
With over 50 cases in the state of Washington alone, non-vaccinated teens are beginning to consider receiving a vaccination once they become adults. Ethan Lindenberger, 18, is one such teen.
Lindenberger received national news attention when he received a vaccination after turning 18, even though his mother had never let her children be vaccinated. He said his mother believes vaccines are a “government scheme.” However, Lindenberger now questions his parents’ decision and, having turned 18, has decided to get the vaccinations himself.
Lindenberger is not the only teen who is searching for answers. Others, such as Mayci, who has asked her last name not to be released, are turning to Reddit to find out for themselves if vaccinations are worth it.
It is important for young people who are not vaccinated as a child to conduct their own research and consider being vaccinated. While parents ultimately can make decisions for their children, scientific evidence shows that teens, and any youth who are not vaccinated, are being put at a greater risk of contracting not just measles, but a wide possibility of diseases.
Measles isn’t the only disease making a comeback. The CDC has found a spike in the number of cases of polio as well.
“Polio was nearly … eradicated worldwide,” Dean of the School of Nursing at Liberty University Dr. Shanna Akers said in an interview. “In fact, there was only a handful of cases over a decade period.”
According to Akers, the violent virus started making a comeback in the mid to late 1990s because some people in the 1960s refused to be vaccinated, allowing the disease to come back for another outbreak. These recent outbreaks have only increased in recent years.
These outbreaks stress the importance of vaccinations, especially at an early age.
An important factor to remember here is that vaccinations aren’t necessarily good for just the person vaccinated, but also for others.
NBC News said that herd immunity is when enough people in a populace are vaccinated against a certain disease, this can protect others who have not had the disease, as it can limit the chances the non-vaccinated individual has of coming into contact with the disease.
For example, according to Akers, all neonatal nurses must be immune to chickenpox. Once a person contracts chickenpox or is given a vaccination, they will never have the disease again. Chickenpox does not mutate enough to allow individuals who previously contracted the virus or were vaccinated to contract the disease again.
These nurses are required to have the immunization because the newborn babies they work with do not have strong enough immune systems to effectively handle the virus and are at a greater risk of fatality if they do contract the disease.
In places other than hospitals with children, some individuals do not have access to vaccines for these diseases are at a higher risk. But, if those around them have the vaccination, then the chances of those individuals contracting these diseases decrease.
Vaccinations exist to protect individual, and they also contribute to the eradication of certain diseases from the world, and that seems like a pretty good reward for a small prick in the arm.