The Spectre of Anti-Vaxxers | Teen Ink

The Spectre of Anti-Vaxxers

March 26, 2015
By Romillama GOLD, Overland Park, Kansas
Romillama GOLD, Overland Park, Kansas
10 articles 0 photos 1 comment

This year, doctors have not found it surprising if their patient’s parents said, “I don’t want to vaccinate my child. It is too risky.” There is a lot of misinformation going around about the link between developmental disorders (such as autism) and vaccinations. America has vaccines available, so everybody should take advantage of it and embrace it. Many outbreaks of preventable diseases have been reported this year. There will be more if parents are allowed to skip out on something as necessary as this. Lenient immunization policies are causing more harm than good in several communities in the United States.

Not only are parents putting their own child at risk, they are also endangering the community where they live. They may think that they are protected because everyone around them is vaccinated, but that is far from the truth. According to, if more than 90 percent of the population is vaccinated, something called herd immunity(when the disease cannot spread because enough people are safe from it) is seen. As the herd immunity is declining, America is sliding deeper and deeper into crisis. In Vermont, the required immunization rates have dropped from 93 percent of the population in 2005 to 83 percent in 2010 (Gram). This decline means bad news for the United States of America.

There is absolutely no solid evidence linking vaccines to developmental disorders. There have been two past studies trying to prove this, and both had been proven to contain fraudulent data. Thirteen years ago, a study was conducted by Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor, and he published a paper suggesting that MMR (Mumps, Measles and Rubella) was partly to blame for the climbing autism rate(Melvin). Soon after it was released to the public though, the paper was shown to contain fake and incorrect data. Despite this, the study ignited a heated debate in the nation about the possibility of a connection between the two. Since there is no believable evidence, it is extremely unlikely that there is a link between immunizations and autism and other developmental disorders.  One, single,  incorrect, fraudulent paper has led to a crisis like none other in America.
These days, pertussis, measles, and meningitis outbreaks are all over the news. In March 2012, according to, America had the largest outbreak of measles in the last fifteen years: 214 reported cases. That may not seem significant compared to the US’s population of 300 million, but it is quite striking when the normal number of cases is anywhere from 0 to 70.  As of October 28, 48 of the states have reported a great increase in pertussis cases in comparison to the same time of the year in 2011(Center for Disease Control). The numbers are higher than ever. The cases can and will continue to grow if parents are given the choice to skip the vaccinations for their child.

All the false rumours going around in America is extremely harmful to the population. As our herd immunity decreases, the number of major outbreaks of preventable disease are inflating. There is a wrong impression that developmental disorders are somehow linked to vaccines, simply because of a fake study by Andrew Wakefield. Besides, there is no true evidence supporting that connection. Also, America has immunizations available for everybody, so people should take advantage of it, so as not to revert to how diseases rampaged the country a long time ago. Many countries do not have the luxury of getting vaccinated, much less decline them. Parents are not properly exercising their privilege of refusing immunizations for their children.  In the words of Dr. Susan Nelson, “It is an illusion you can protect yourself from diseases.” if you are not vaccinated.

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