Putting Every Child at Risk

For the first time in decades, the United States is seeing a major outbreak of avoidable diseases like measles, rubella and pertussis because parents are saying “NO” to vaccinating their children for medical and religious purposes. All three of these diseases can be prevented with a series of MMR and TDaP vaccines given in early childhood. However, vaccination rates in America have been cut because of scary rumors involving vaccinations and incurable diseases like autism. Without having an active immunization program for all children, a chain of preventable deaths will continue to occur all over the globe, causing a serious epidemic.

In 1998, a fraudulent publication in The Lancet announced that a vaccination that had Thimerosal as an ingredient caused autism and colitis. This publication was fully retracted in 2010 for showing no signs of scientific evidence. Thimerosal was a drug preservative used in many biological and drug products to prevent contamination and growth of life-threating fungal and bacterial microbes. This preservative does not and has never been used in any MMR, polio, varicella, and pneumococcal vaccines, and it has almost been completely terminated in most pharmaceutical products. Since the discontinuance of this product, the number of children diagnosed with autism has not declined. According to medical journals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Association, there is no credible evidence supporting a link between autism and vaccinations.

Even though measles caused the deaths of 680,000 people in 1990, people are still using religious beliefs and nonfactual publications to refuse vaccinations for their children. Today, measles is still the leading cause of childhood mortality, and even more cases continue to show up daily in the United States because this virus is very contagious and is spreading fast through communities that refuse to get vaccinated. Measles causes a sere infection of the skin, respiratory system, immune system, and brain, and it can even lead to death. People are forgetting how serious measles is because it hasn’t shown up in the U.S. as aggressively as in past decades, but the epidemic is real and becoming very apparent every day.

Measles is not the only untreatable disease showing up in America. More and more people in the U.S. are now being diagnosed with pertussis (whooping cough). This disease is highly contagious and can be prevented with a series of TDaP vaccines given early in childhood and in late trimesters for pregnant woman. Whooping cough is a respiratory tract infection that can turn deadly, especially in the elder generation and infants. The disease is airborne, and when breathed in, the bacteria go straight to the lungs, causing a series of problems.  Before the vaccination for pertussis was invented, 200,000 children got sick from it and about 9,000 died from it each year.

Another highly contagious avoidable virus being seen around the globe is rubella (German measles). This is a virus seen in pregnant woman and in newborn babies. When the mother becomes infected with this awful virus during pregnancy, it causes severe complications and death. If the baby makes it past the first trimester and contracts congenital rubella syndrome, he or she could be born with a countless number of birth defects. Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) is the reason the vaccination was made in the first place because this disease causes low birth weight, anemia, and hepatitis, as well as cardiac, cereal, ophthalmic and auditory defects for the newborn. Before the vaccination for Rubella was made, 20,000 babies were born with serious birth defects in a single year because the mothers were infected with the virus.

It would take a substantial amount of danger to prevent parents from doing everything they can to keep their children alive, yet parents are steadily declining vaccines that would do so. Only about 62 percent of all children in the United States are vaccinated against these untreatable, preventable diseases when the numbers should be close to a 100 percent. Children may receive some but not all their vaccines due to what their parents think is appropriate, and not what the CDC recommends. Not getting all vaccines at the appropriate time for children allows children to be exposed to fatal and otherwise preventable diseases, and the choice for one child can affect the community as a whole. Vaccines don’t cause autism any more than they prevent it, and they are not one hundred percent effective one hundred percent of the time, but they are rendered useless if the child isn’t vaccinated.