By Ellie Schuckman
Unless you have lived under a rock for the past few weeks, you have probably heard about the Measles outbreak. While the cause of the recent epidemic is loosely related to Disneyland in California, a lack of vaccinations for the disease is strongly to blame.
The disease, which causes a fever, sore throat and rash, is one of the leading causes of death for children worldwide. With a reported 644 cases from 27 states, this is the largest outbreak in the U.S. since Measles was declared eliminated in 2000 by the Center for Disease Control.
While the true cause of what sparked the string of cases is unknown, if those kids were vaccinated as doctors recommend, they would not be fighting for their lives. There is no reason in the 21st century for people to not vaccinate their kids for diseases that can so easily be spread and are heavily known to cause serious harm.
In December 2014, it was first reported that those with Measles could be traced back to Disneyland, with 42 of the state’s 59 cases at the time having been linked to the park. Nine other cases from those living outside of California have also been traced back to Disneyland, according to CNN.com.
Many fear the vaccination because they believe it causes neurological disorders such as autism. Claims that supposedly link the Measles vaccination to autism are not only absurd — they are unfounded.
Scientific evidence has found no link between the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and the “onset of developmental disorders such as autism,” according to healthmap.org. Studies that have been done show that the average age where some children may begin to show symptoms of autism is coincidental to that when the vaccine is typically given. There is no direct link between the two, according to PolitiFact.com.
So, even when scientists have proven these claims to be false, why is the belief so strong? In 1998 a British medical journal, The Lancet, published a paper by Andrew Wakefield claiming a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Upon further examination, it was revealed that his study only included about 12 children, some of the work was faked and that he was “paid by lawyers for parents of children in the study,” according to PolitiFact.com.
But the damage was done.
Wakefield started a firestorm which spread around the globe and which many still value to be true. There is no reason for anyone with an open-mind to still believe the lies of a discredited medical researcher. Those who are not vaccinated for fear of other diseases are being ridiculous, especially when they have proven to have a false correlation.
In 2010, model, actress, author and anti-vaccine activist Jenny McCarthy wrote an article for The Huffington Post stating her views on why vaccines do, in fact, have a correlation with autism. She stated how a Time magazine article on the autism debate claimed that experts are certain that “vaccines don’t cause autism.” However, she refuted this by saying, “That’s a lie and we’re sick of it.” Notably, McCarthy has a 12-year-old son with autism.
When public figures begin spouting these unfounded claims, the general public is more likely to believe them. Product advertisement is pure proof of this. Society has an infatuation with celebrities, and when they start preaching about something or promote a specific product, others follow them.
The recent outbreak has been largely blamed to the anti-vaccination movement sweeping the nation. Since Thursday, Jan. 1 alone, there have been at least 121 cases reported in 17 states. Earlier in 2014, there was an outbreak among unvaccinated Amish communities in Ohio, where 383 cases were reported, according to cdc.gov.
There is a certain understanding that those who do not believe in vaccinations for religious beliefs have a right to their views, yet when those beliefs begin to negatively affect the larger community, it is a problem.
Unless a direct link is found to which the MMR vaccine causes serious harm, there is no reason why every child is not given the shot.