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As the world population grows, it is important to ensure that the spread of illness is kept under control. Higher populations make it easier for the spread of potentially life-threatening diseases which put people at risk. Often times the people that suffer most are ones with weakened or not yet developed immune systems. This means that children and elderly are the most common to succumb to these outbreaks. There is a great lifesaving method that prevents the spread of these diseases, saving millions of lives in the process; vaccinations. Vaccinations date back hundreds of years and are one of the most well-researched interventions of all time. Vaccines are often considered to be the health intervention with the greatest impact since clean water. Despite all of this acknowledgment and research, there are still people who disagree with vaccines, often refusing to subject their children to the practice. Although the number of people against vaccinations is small,their impact is large. This is due to the fact that the effectiveness of vaccinations relies on ‘community immunity’ also known as herd immunity. This is a form of indirect protection from diseases when a large percentage of the population has become immune to a disease it provides protection to those who lack immunity.  The more people that do not vaccinate the more our community immunity is hurt creating the potential for dangerous resurgences of life-threatening diseases.

The lack of support for vaccinations often comes from concerned parents. Their belief stems from a fear that vaccines will cause irreversible harm to their child. Often times this is due to lack of research combining with the false belief that vaccines cause autism.I understand that being a parent is hard and looking out for your child is of top priority. It can be hard to make a decision when faced with something that is difficult to fully understand. After all, vaccinations are essentially infecting yourself with the disease you’re trying to prevent. It all kind of seems dangerous and scary especially since its being administered to a child.It is important to also note that vaccinations aren’t completely risk-free, as,with most medical procedures and medication, there is always a small risk.  This idea can be frightening as vaccinations are often given to infants. Nobody wants to put their baby at risk especially when they have a choice not to. However, these risks are not life-threatening and usually result in an allergic reaction or an autoimmune response. These are not the risks feared, the belief that vaccines cause autism is often the main deterrent. This belief is false, there has been no research that has linked childhood vaccinations and autism. The fear associated with having a child with autism is outweighing the fear that should be associated with mass outbreaks of preventable diseases. Diseases that will have a much worse impact on a child’s life as they are often the ones who fall victim. To put it into perspective a disease that has started to re-impact the world is measles. Measles is a disease that had almost disappeared before the anti-vaccination trend and now has gained new ground. This disease can cause pneumonia, lifelong brain damage,deafness, and even death. People fear the potential harm of vaccinations when they should fear the certain harm that comes with these diseases.  In Canada, Diphtheria was the leading cause of childhood death killing up to 2,000 children a year in the 1920s. Even after they had a developed a vaccine, vaccination apathy meant the disease could still prevail and killed 200 in 1943.  Today,diseases such as mumps, measles, and whooping cough continue to threaten the population. They continue to infect children resulting in their hospitalizations and deaths each year. The belief that not vaccinating is protecting your child is doing exactly the opposite. When children aren’t vaccinated they have the potential to spread the disease. This means that children who are too young to be vaccinated such as newborn babies and others with weak immunity risk infection. This can result in long-term complications or even death.  

The benefits of vaccinations are shown in the millions of deaths they prevent each year.

The problem is, these benefits are not properly publicized leaving room for false information. False information and fear play a big part in the increasing number of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. The potential impact these diseases could have on the population is not fully understood which in turn makes the vaccinations themselves easy to refuse. As our community immunity goes down information that stresses the need for vaccines needs to go up.  Parents need to be reassured that these vaccinations are detrimental to the safety of their children. Vaccinations are safe, effective, and protect everyone from dangerous life-threatening diseases.

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