by Julia Salem
It’s one of the most controversial topics of this generation. It has garnered attention from millions of Americans, and has sent the country into an all out debate. Welcome to the world of vaccines.
In December 2014, the happiest place on earth became slightly less happy. A measles outbreak was released. Since then, panic broke out among the states, and people began fearing the worst. Who would be next? Since then, a debate regarding vaccines started.
Many parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children, some even claiming that vaccines have poisonous side effects. Others refuse to vaccinate due to religious beliefs. This notion has angered a lot of parents who do choose to vaccinate their kids. Many parents who choose to vaccinate say that not vaccinating is irresponsible and dangerous: you’re not only putting your children at risk for diseases, you’re putting other members of the community at risk as well.
Mary Vidal, Health Services Coordinator at Dominican University, explains the importance of being vaccinated. “It protects the individual from many diseases that would be needless--that they don’t need to suffer from because there are very effective vaccines available. People often forget that, for example, measles can kill people. We haven’t seen it so much in the population since the vaccine came out. Vaccines offer us such a great way to protect ourselves and protect the rest of the community. “ She goes on to explain, “What’s been in the news a lot, for example, is that people who choose not to have their kids vaccinated, it’s not only- it’s one thing that they choose for their kids to not be protected, but if those kids pick up the disease, then they can spread it to other kids that don’t have the choice to get vaccinated because they may be immunocompromised, and medically it’s not possible for them to be vaccinated, so it really puts them at a very serious, threatening risk.”
As stated earlier, many people refuse to get vaccinated because they believe that vaccines carry serious health risks and complications. In fact, there are many celebrities who seem to be against vaccinations.
Bill Maher, an American Political commentator, was reported to have said, in regards to the swine flu vaccination, “Why would you let them be the ones to stick a disease into your arm? I would never get a swine flu vaccine or any vaccine. I don’t trust the government, especially with my health.”
Another celebrity, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has made his own thoughts about vaccines known, “"Thimerosal causes autism when injected into children. Government epidemiologists and other scientists, conspiring with the vaccine industry, have covered up data and lied about vaccine ingredients to hide this fact. Journalists are dupes of this powerful cabal that is intentionally poisoning children."
However, Susanna McKeough, who works alongside Vidal, says this, “There are, with any vaccine or with any medication, [risks] that someone takes. But, they’re [side effects] extremely rare. The benefit really, for the general population, outweighs the risk."
According to both, there is also a vaccine reporting agency. Those who have had complications with their vaccinations are required to record it, and report it to the agency. A well known agency is called VAERS, or Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. It is an agency that offers valuable information about vaccines to the public, including any and all side effects.
However, complications with vaccines is very rare. Many of those against vaccines have made claims that it causes autism. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), several studies have been done to check on this. Studies have found that there is no evidence to support the claim that vaccines cause autism.
Dominican University of California has a strict immunization policy. In fact, according to the policy, all students are required to be vaccinated against MMR, or measles, mumps and rubella. All students must also be vaccinated against other illnesses, such as tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Those who are living on campus must be immunized against meningococcal disease and varicella. All incoming international students are required to undergo a tuberculosis screening. All of these precautions is to ensure the safety of those at Dominican Community.
It is recommended that people do their research about vaccines in order to gather factual, reliable and valuable information.