Vaccinate your kids, for all our sakes

 (Alyssa Koszis)

(Alyssa Koszis)


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Long ago, well before I was born, a wise man sang a question that was as pressing as any that had been ever asked by any human: “Why does it hurt when
I pee?” This wise man then augmented this question with a declaration: “I don’t want no doc- tor to stick no needle in me!”

The aforementioned wise man was Frank Zappa, and his double negative declaration against inoculation has been curiously resuscitated, at least in principal, for purposes that he was most definitely not referencing: a growing number of parents are refusing to vaccinate their children, which poses an enormous health risk for the general population.

Much of this stems from the fallout of an uber-unethical study, conducted by one Dr. Andrew Wakefield of England, in regards to a vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella, which claimed that vaccinations were responsible
for the sharp rise in the number of children being diagnosed with Autism.

The study used an inadequate sample size of (about 12 children) and also made use of some sketchy timelines of their illnesses, as some had the disease before they had any vaccines. Either way, his “findings” caught hold and some parents responded by choosing not to vaccinate their children.

Dr. Wakefield had the hell discredited out of him, but like a sexist joke at a feminists’ meeting, its mere utterance was enough to set forth an avalanche of deadly fallout.

Parents refusing to vaccinate their kids led to a weird resurgence of really serious, contagious, yet preventable diseases, such as whooping cough. This kind of negligence, while perhaps born of good intentions, is negligence nonetheless. It endangers the whole population; if enough people don’t get a vaccine, then a disease can spread through enough people and possibly mutate and spread to a larger segment of the populous.

Many people forget about how devastating polio used to be, or how WWI wasn’t ended by any single military action, but by a strain of incredibly lethal influenza. No conquistador could have taken down the Aztecs if they had not inadvertently infected them with small pox, no matter how well armed they were.

In our current society, we are so densely populated and have such quick means of intercontinental transport that the spread of infectious disease seems very feasible. Inoculating the population is not only important, but necessary to preserving ourselves as best we can. Humans will never be able to totally prevent all diseases (germs are a lot smarter than us), but if there is one thing that seems like
a bad idea, its giving a window
to devastating diseases based off of a minute possibility that a vaccine may have a side effect. The benefits far outweigh the possible ramifications, and it seems like less of a personal choice than a responsibility to society.