Are You Vaccinating Your Children? The Global Debate on Measles

Are You Vaccinating Your Children? The Global Debate on Measles

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The topic of vaccinations and more recently measles has yet to become dubbed ‘old news’ in recent media and news intake. In fact, it seems as if there is an article every day weighing in on the debate of whether or not ones’ children should be vaccinated.

The latest outbreak of measles at the “happiest place on earth”  made the magical kingdom a lot less happy as many kids contracted the virus resulting in a park wide frenzy to abandon mickey and friends for safer, less measly grounds.

Although no deaths were reported from the Disneyland measles outbreak, the family of an 18-month-old boy in Berlin could, sadly not say the same. It seems that the parental authority of the United States are not the only ones having this vaccination debate.

Around 575 cases of the infectious disease have been reported in the German capital since October 2014. That is currently the largest outbreak there since 2001.

The current spread of measles is disheartening to many as the viewpoint speaks on prevention. Simply put – there is  a vaccine that protects against the illness. Germany’s Vaccination Committee recommends that every child receive a first immunization shot between the age of 11 months and 14 months and a second one between 15 and 23 months.

However a number of parents (and some argue this number is growing in both europe and other western countries) refuse to have their children vaccinated. The fear lies in the the consequences of the immunization more than the potential of contracting the virus. Their arguments against the vaccination, however, haven’t gained much traction among medical professionals.

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Source: http://www.dw.de/, To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate, http://www.dw.de/to-vaccinate-or-not-to-vaccinate/a-18276867, Mar. 2015, web

One of the greatest fears of measles-immunization opponents is that their child could contract autism. They believe that components in the combined MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella trigger the neuro-developmental disorder. Among the well-known vaccination opponents in the US, where the movement has attracted quite a bit of attention, is model and TV show host Jenny McCarthy. She believes that her son’s autism was caused by vaccination and has been vocal in her distrust of vaccinations.

Another well-known argument against the measles vaccination is the belief that children can become inflamed in the brain from the vaccine. Some parents, who have not had their infants immunized, point to side effects of the vaccine they want to avoid. Chief among them is encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which can cause permanent brain damage and – in the worst case – death.

Anti-vaccination parents prefer their children to get immunized the “natural way”: by catching the disease from infected friends on purpose.

“I don’t want to artificially intervene with my son’s immune system while he’s growing up,” one vaccine opponent stated.

However recent studies are showing the risks of the actual disease are much higher than those of the vaccine. Only one person in one million develops a brain inflammation from the MMR immunization; but one in one thousand catches it as a side effect from the measles. So it may seem that  the risk is 1,000 times higher with the disease.

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Source: http://www.dw.de/, To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate, http://www.dw.de/to-vaccinate-or-not-to-vaccinate/a-18276867, Mar. 2015, web

In Western countries, one person in 3,000 infected with measles will die. In developing nations, the numbers are far worse, mostly due to malnutrition.

A third argument against the vaccination is old fashion privacy. Parents argue that whether or not they vaccinate their children is a personal decision that does not need to involve public debate or medical industry permission.

Arguments for the vaccination are simple and rooted in a larger populous mentality of preserving health for all. If a significant number of children are not vaccinated against measles, they are putting everyone else at risk of contracting  the disease as well. The argument for vaccinating points to the dangers this poses to newborns, who cannot receive the MMR vaccine before the age of nine months.

“It’s a societal obligation for as many people as possible to get vaccinated,”one California  mother states . “This way, the youngest aren’t at risk to catch measles.”

Now we want to hear from you!

Where do you weigh in on vaccinating, measles and why?

Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

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