Shots or Not? by Amaya Prescott
The ongoing debate about vaccines and immunizations brings light to very different opinions about an incredibly important topic. Vaccines have been increasingly common since their creation and while there are cases where people couldn’t receive vaccinations for one reason or another, lately there seems to be a new wave of people convinced that they do more harm than good. Most people have probably heard someone’s argument as to why people shouldn’t get vaccinated, whether they will take it seriously or not is a matter of personal opinion. There are several points and counter points for both sides, though some are more valid than others.
Someone against vaccines might argue that vaccines aren’t one hundred percent effective and someone for vaccines could respond with “Vaccines do work most of the time.” For each claim it seems like the opposing side has something to counter it with, even if it seems untrue or unrelated. A person with some sort of factual evidence that opposes vaccinations may argue that vaccines hurt, their expensive, children have to endure several of them and they can have negative side effects. None of these claims are automatically false, in most cases they’re true. Sometimes however, information is relative, things can seem better or worse than they actually are when they aren’t compared other information about the topic.
Concerning the arguments from people who are against vaccines, here’s how people who support vaccines might respond. “Vaccines do hurt but they also save lives. Yes, vaccines do cost a lot but getting sick is even more expensive and the reason kids get so many vaccines is to prevent a number of vaccine preventable illnesses. There will sometimes be negative effects after receiving vaccinations, they are meant to introduce the human body to a certain sickness, which would be hard to do if it didn’t at least induce a little bit of sickness.” There is a lack of understanding of vaccinations that tends to make some people weary of them, like the belief that vaccines cause autism.
There is no proven link between vaccines and autism, these are two separate concepts that have very few relevant, shared concepts. It should be noted that autism can go undetected in the first few years of a child’s life, if not much longer than that. A child can start to regress, seemingly out of the blue and since that child might have received several vaccines around that time, some people who don’t have a good understanding of either topic may mistake correlation for causation. Just because they happen during the same time frame does not mean they are instantly related.
Another argument people who are against vaccines commonly use is that the ingredients of vaccines are mostly components that don’t seem safe to put in your body. To someone who doesn’t understand the science behind vaccines, the all those long names and big words might be intimidating. Granted, some components of vaccines can be harmful if mixed with certain substances or if taken in excess, similar to how ingredients in food can be harmful if they are mixed with the wrong things or if you eat too much of them. Vaccines aren’t nearly as scary as some people think they are, despite the ingredients and how they are administered. And, getting vaccines helps not only the health of those that receive them, but also the others around them.
Since some people can’t receive vaccines, they rely on others around them being vaccinated and giving them herd immunity. Herd immunity is essentially the thought that even if one person is susceptible to a certain illness, if all the others around them can’t get sick with that, then there’s no one to pass it on to them. When people receive to get vaccinated or let their children be vaccinated even if there is nothing stopping them but their own ignorance, it makes the world a more dangerous place for people who rely on herd immunity to stay healthy.
Ultimately nobody can be forced to vaccinate their children or vaccinate themselves in most situations, but the consequences for that should be known. Refusing vaccination when it is perfectly safe for that specific person to receive on is a hazard to their and others health. Nobody benefits from being left open to otherwise harmful but preventable illnesses, diminished herd immunity, and higher chances of widespread sicknesses that had almost been wiped out being given a chance to return. While the debate still goes on, it is ultimately the better, safer choice to receive vaccines and let those you are responsible for be vaccinated. If a person from several hundred years ago with no formal education figure out that having some form of vaccination is good for you, why can’t a person living in this day and age with all the technology and information at their hands do the same?