Anti-vaccination movement a threat to health and common sense

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 5, 2015

In light of the recent measles outbreak throughout the country, we are once again reminded of one of the more disturbing trends gaining popularity in modern American culture.
The anti-vaccination movement is not a new idea, as there have been detractors of mandatory vaccines for more than 100 years now.
It doesn’t make any more sense now than it did then, which is odd considering how easy it is to access information with today’s technology. Instead of using the Internet to their benefit, the anti-vaccine crowd has used it as a platform to broadcast their misguided and dangerous viewpoint.
It is a prime example of the abuse of freedom. The United States is a free country, but we still have limitations that ensure our personal protection. Take traffic laws example: One could argue that we are not completely free since we have to drive on the right side of the road and stop at red lights, but consider the danger of roads without traffic laws. Is it not safer for everyone to follow some form of order?
To be honest, I can understand the initial hesitation to mandatory vaccinations. Being forced to inject your child with a powerful vaccine sounds like a genuinely nerve-racking decision – at first. However, extensive research shows that the odds of a child contracting a potentially life-threatening disease decreases exponentially after receiving a vaccination. These diseases are preventable, so why not prevent them?
As of now, there are two states that do not allow religious or philosophical exceptions to vaccinations – Mississippi and West Virginia. Because of this, Mississippi has the highest rate of kindergarten immunization in the country. These two states also have no recorded cases of measles in this most recent outbreak. I would have no gripe with the anti-vaccine supporters if their illogical decisions only affected themselves. Sadly, their stubbornness puts their children and others in real danger of being infected with a disease that has had a vaccine for decades.
In an interview with the Atlantic Magazine, Jonas Salk’s son, Peter, summarized the anti-vaccine movement perfectly. “It’s like there’s an epidemic of misinformation, and we’ve got to inoculate the public against it,” said Salk.

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