What are the risks and do they out way the benefits?
“Vaccines are the tugboats of preventive health” – William Forege
You may not know who William Forege is, and to be honest, it wasn’t until I watched a recent documentary that I had either. The documentary was about medical history and how vaccinating the masses has become common place – William Forege is credited with just that. Before we delve into the moral and medical reasons why immunising our children is wrong or right, I feel it’s important to know how they work and how they came to fruition.
Edward Jenner, another name you may not be familiar with, in May 1796 took the puss from a milkmaid who was infected with cowpox and transferred this puss into the cut on the arm of a local boy. Risky to say the least! Jenner noticed a small blister appear on the boys arm over the proceeding days but later this subsided. Jenner then exposed the boy to the smallpox virus and found the boy to be immune. Lucky for the boy, Jenner had proven that exposing him to cowpox had provided the boy with immunity to the smallpox virus.
Over the next two century’s research and studies continued and vaccinations for a number of virus and diseases have been found.
Skip forward to 2017 and more specifically to Monday 18th September I’m sitting in a doctors waiting room with Stacey and Harrison waiting to been seen for his immunisations. No one wants to knowingly inflict pain to their little one but it’s all for the greater good right? It will prevent him being ill from these diseases in the future. Prevention is better than cure?
When I was growing up in the late 90’s /early 2000, I was more worried about trying to attract girls and how to cover up the vast amount of spots camouflaging my face! I was blissfully unaware of the conundrum being faced by parents in the UK regarding vaccination. Andrew Wakefield published a paper that suggested a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism. 12 cases of children were reported to have developed autism shortly after receiving the routine does of immunisations. This paper knocked public confidence in the vaccine and take up rates of the MMR jabs fell by nearly 10% in the UK. This paper was later discredited but it took up until 2008 for take up rates to come close to where they were before the report.
Can you imagine the thought process of a new parent? Constantly faced with widespread news coverage about the link to autism and your child’s vaccinations? Maybe if you’re of a certain age you can remember such articles and your feelings and emotions towards them. Could the injection your child is about to receive potentially do more harm than good?
Reasons why not to have your children vaccinated.
For me I cannot see a medical or scientifically reason not to give your children these inoculations. I’m not medical professional but I have to believe that the research and studies that have been undertaken, prove that they work and do more good than harm. My two brothers and I, have all had the recommended injections. As has my other half, my four year old daughter too and are all, touch wood, fit and healthy with no side effects from our early exposer to these ailments.
There are some religious reasons why a parent may decide not to allow a doctor to administer immunisations. Some Christians believe that if someone contracts a sickness or disease it is God’s will and should be allowed to take its course. With treating said illness being a sin and against God’s wishes. I’m not overly religious so cannot comment too much on this particular segment and I will not pretend to understand such a stance.
Compulsory vaccinations are law in some countries, by hitting the magic 95% of the populations being vaccinated creates the “Heard Effect”. This number means that this should be enough of the population to prevent any future epidemic. There are some members of communities that do not like being told what to do by the state. Whether that be with medical care or education, some believe it’s against their civil right to be told to vaccinate their children – some schools in the US have even made it mandatory for school admission.
I personally believe that vaccination has saved millions of lives over the last 200 years and will continue to do so. That’s why I had no hesitation into having these injections given to my children, not having them was not even a consideration. There will always be possible side effects for any form of medical care. There’s possible repercussions for general anesthetic but patients undergo the knife knowing the operation they are about to receive will outweigh the risks of being put to sleep. Risk vs rewards and the reward of not contracting the diseases you’re being immunised for, for me, is bigger than any potential risk.
Did you feel any pressure to have your child(ren) vaccinated, did you have any worries or concerns? Or did you, like me, put your trust in the system? Let me know in the comments below!