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Vaccines Are Just Common Sense

As recent outbreaks of preventable diseases demonstrate, vaccines provide undisputable benefits compared to their risks.

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Vaccines Are Just Common Sense

The benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks. (Tero Vesalainen/Dreamstime/TNS)

The benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks. (Tero Vesalainen/Dreamstime/TNS)

TNS

The benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks. (Tero Vesalainen/Dreamstime/TNS)

TNS

TNS

The benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks. (Tero Vesalainen/Dreamstime/TNS)

Taylor Pitzl, Web Editor-in-Chief

Mumps. Measles. Rubella. These three diseases had been nearly eradicated in the United States due to the MMR vaccine that provides protection against all three diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Just two shots, given over the period of a few years, provide a lifetime of protection from these potentially fatal illnesses. However, due to a dangerous trend against vaccinations, outbreaks of these diseases are occurring once again. Most recently, there have been 51 confirmed cases of measles in Clark County, WA, according to the investigation by Clark County Public Health. In all of these cases but one, the patients had not been vaccinated.

The United States has the safest and most effective supply of vaccines, according to the CDC. Side effects vary for every vaccine, however, they tend to be fairly mild, such as redness around the injection site or soreness in the arm. While severe reactions are possible, these are extremely rare. For example, a severe allergic reaction occurs on only one out of a million vaccines, according to the CDC. Compare this to the mortality rate of measles, in which two out of every thousand people with the infection will die, and it is apparent why vaccines are pushed so heavily. It is much safer to be vaccinated against these diseases than to contract them.

Vaccines not only protect the recipient, but they also protect the community as a whole. Herd immunity is when enough people in a community are vaccinated that it protects those who can not receive the vaccine, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.  Only 78 percent of schoolchildren in Clark County, WA received the measles vaccine, according to Clark County Public Health which contributed to the outbreak’s rapid spread. Not only do low vaccination rates hurt those who refuse vaccines, but they also hurt those who can’t be vaccinated. Infants and those with suppressed immune systems, such as cancer patients, are among the people who are unable to receive the vaccine. If herd immunity is strong enough, the chance that these vulnerable populations will contract the disease will be dramatically lower.

Every state requires students to have certain vaccines before attending schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, each state has different exemptions to these rules. Seventeen states, including Washington, allow philosophical exemptions. This means that parents can refuse vaccines due to their own personal beliefs, not even those affiliated with a religion. In Washington, state representatives are proposing a bill to remove these philosophical exemptions in response to the outbreak, according to CBS.

Students should be required to receive vaccines, as schools require lots of children to be in close contact with one another increasing the risk of spreading disease. Philosophical exemptions should be absolutely abolished as one person’s philosophy should not allow them to put others at risk. Vaccine requirements make schools safer and more inclusive to those with medical conditions prohibiting them from receiving vaccines.

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Taylor Pitzl, Web Editor-in-Chief

Favorite Show: The Office

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