Winter is here in full fury, and consequently, the flu has made yet another comeback. In this period of time, students and parents are encouraged to get vaccinated against the flu. The question on whether to get vaccinated remains as a common topic for debate. Some claim that vaccines are helpful and benefit resistance to the flu and other illnesses such as smallpox. Others say there are harmful side effects that come along with being vaccinated, resulting in possible conditions that are worse than the sickness the vaccine was meant to protect against. The majority of the public schools in the United States require that a child must be vaccinated in order to attend school. However, Michigan is one of the 17 states that allows vaccination waivers regarding religious, philosophical, or personal beliefs.
The process in order to receive a vaccination waiver is pretty simple. A person schedules an appointment with the health department for a vaccine waiver, then goes to the health department.
“Some people only waive one or two vaccines and then there are some people who waive all of them, they don’t want their kids vaccinated with anything,” clinical services director for Midland health department Mary Macinnes said. “There is a lot of people who are just like ‘no my kid has already had chickenpox or I don’t care if he gets chickenpox so we are not going to get that shot but we are going to get other ones instead.’”
Midland county generally has had a couple hundred people in the past have obtained vaccine waivers. In recent years, there has been noticeably fewer people get vaccine waivers. For 2017, there were about a hundred people who got vaccine waivers for themselves or their kids.
“I think what the state believes is happening is because people have to come to the health department and actually get a signed waiver,” Macinnes said. “That those people who are on the fence about their vaccines they just decided to go get the vaccines. Because the vaccination rate did go up while the waiver rate went down. So that would be the logical conclusion to that. I think that the state believes that is the case. I mean there are some people who are never going to get their vaccines, it doesn’t matter what you make them do. But there are some people who are like ‘It is just not convenient or I can’t get in right now.” Those are the people who get in and don’t bother getting the waiver.”
Since either getting vaccinated and receiving a waiver is a big decision, there has been heated debates, and research on both sides that is worth looking into. Hopefully, with the information provided, this will help people having additional information before they make this decision. Or at least developed an understanding for the opposing side of the vaccine debate.
There are many benefits that vaccines provide to society. Not only has disease gone down since vaccines have been introduced, but vaccines are incredibly safe to use.
Vaccination helps to protect people from contagious disease nationwide. So much so that the rate of polio has gone down by 99% since 1988, according to The World Health Organization. Also, the rate of chickenpox is down by 80% since 2000 according to the Center of Disease Control. The more people to get vaccinated, the better it is for everyone.
According to The Department of Health and Human Services, since vaccination has been implemented, the rate of sickness has gone down in the United States, polio being a major one.
According to The World Health Organization, “Polio was once America’s most feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but today, thanks to vaccination, there are no reports of polio in the United States.”
Other countries are using vaccines as well. According to Vaccine Knowledge Project, Canada also recommends the flu vaccine for children over six months old. Some countries, like the United Kingdom, implements vaccines differently.
The harm of vaccines is outweighed by the benefits. Studies show that, yes, there are a couple of intense harmful reactions to vaccines, however, they are very rare. According to Vaccine Safety Basics from the World Health Organization, the rate of these reactions are one in 1,000 to one in 50,000 for the BCG Vaccine, one in two to three million for the OPV Vaccine (one in 750,000 for the first dose), one in one million for Measles, and one in 750,000 for DTP.
The ingredients used in vaccines are entirely safe to use. Additionally, vaccines are optional to be taken in most states.
According to Vaccine Safety Basics,“Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent.”
While there are some side effects, such as rashes and itchy skin, the benefit factor outweighs the risk factor. The more people that receive vaccines, the less of a chance that the disease will resurface.
“I believe they are a necessary evil,” sophomore Madden Brady said. “They do help prevent widespread diseases for the most part. Inoculation has been around since the American Revolution, George Washington himself was an inoculator. In the end, it really saves you.”
Overall, the benefits that vaccines provide outweigh the rare side effects that occur. Especially if the diseases are life-threatening.
“Really, in the long run, a little pain, or a lot of pain, to prevent a disease, I believe, is a no-brainer,” Brady said. “It is a little bad right now, but prevents a lot of bad in the future.”
Vaccinations have many problems regarding safety concerns and are questioning whether or not they are as effective as they claim to be. However, it is ultimately up to the parents to make the decision on what they feel is best for their child.
There are proven risks for being vaccinated, as well as infringing upon the rights of citizens.
In California, personal exemptions and religious exemptions have been revoked. Now parents are ordered to vaccinate their children against their will. In addition, according to the CDC, “The average cost to fully vaccinate a child with private insurance to the age of 18 (has risen) to $2,192 from $100.”
The children that have been vaccinated are actually less healthy than the children that receive vaccinations. A survey of 12,000 kids in America and Europe was conducted. According to The Peoples Chemist, “Vaccinated children are more chronically ill than unvaccinated children with rates for autism, ear infections, ADHD, asthma, and allergies as much as 30% higher than unvaxed children”.
The components used in vaccines are proven to be linked to autism. According to The Healthy Home Economist, all of the vaccines tested have heavy metals in their ingredients. Surprisingly, 90% of them had uranium. In addition to being linked to autism, vaccines have been known to increase the chances of severe allergic reactions, learning disorders, and chronic illnesses.
Typhoid fever was a major disease that was affecting children in Chicago in the mid 1800’s. According to Organic Lifestyle Magazine, Chicago had a massive growth in population that the water system couldn’t handle. Human waste went into the Chicago river which leads back to Lake Michigan, the source of Chicago’s drinking water. The rate of typhoid fever had decreased due to the modernization of Chicago’s water system. Consequently, typhoid fever had mostly been wiped out due to the improvements of sanitary conditions and not vaccines.
Ultimately, the parents are the ones that decide on whether or not to vaccinate their child. Katie Wright, a writer for Age of Autism, and has a son that suffers from autism.
“Everyone is different. We see that with peanut allergies, allergies to penicillin, latex….It is just when it comes to vaccines that it is always one size fits all,” Wright said via email interview. “The HPV vaccine has the highest rate of adverse reactions than any other vaccine. It is supposed to protect against cervical cancer but cervical cancer is 100% preventable with yearly pap smears.”
Vaccines themselves aren’t the problem, it is the ingredients that are used to make the vaccines that could be harmful. Children will react differently to each ingredient, so it would be in the best interest of parents to select vaccines that won’t harm their child. According to The National Health Information Survey, the “ASD rate for 2016 of 2.76%, or 1 in 36 American children” the highest it has ever been.
Without a doubt, there are some proven concerns about vaccines. In combination with their price and that the companies cannot be sued, it is natural to be a skeptic on whether or not to get vaccinated. With the health and safety concerns provided, it is clear why there is such a strong voice against vaccination.