EDITORIAL: Anti-Vaxxer Movement Poses a Serious Danger


The anti-vaxxer movement is based on medical journal paper written by a doctor who has since lost his medical license due to “unethical behaviour, misconduct and dishonesty.”

Vaccines have been a crucial instrument in disease prevention for hundreds of years. Life threatening diseases including polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, rotavirus and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) are all currently preventable diseases thanks to vaccines.

Despite the life-saving abilities of vaccines, an increasingly prevalent group of Americans have joined a campaign against vaccinating children centered around the ideology that immunizations are in fact dangerous and harmful. This movement is backed by discredited sources and disregards actual proven scientific research.

While parents do have the right to make decisions regarding their children’s well being, they should not put the child’s life – and possibly the lives of other children – in jeopardy. Parents who decide against vaccinating their children for any reason other than religious beliefs are in many ways neglecting their job to protect their child to the best of their ability by unnecessarily subjecting them to the constant threat of easily preventable illnesses.

The support for this mentality stems from a fraudulent medical journal paper written by former Dr. Andrew Wakefield based on an unreliable study he had conducted prior, claiming that inoculations, specifically the MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella) vaccine can cause autism in children. Soon after Wakefield published his scientifically-inaccurate article, his medical license was revoked and his article was taken down. Yet, this disproven pseudo-science is still used by self-proclaimed “anti-vaxxers” to support their dangerous ideology that immunizations cause more harm than good.

As the number of anti-vaxxers who do not immunize their children increases, the recurrence of nearly eradicated disease consequently increases as well. The World Health Organization lists failure to vaccinate children as one of the top “ten threats to global health in 2019” as recent implications of not vaccinating children have come to light. A 2018 report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that since 2001, the number of unvaccinated children in the United States has quadrupled. As a direct result of not inoculating children against preventable diseases, the CDC confirmed over 100 cases of measles in the continental United States in January 2019 alone.

As these startling statistics come out, many teenagers and young adults who are not properly immunized are desperately trying to get inoculated against vaccine-preventable disease in spite of their parent’s anti-vaccine mentality. On his 18th birthday, Ethan Lindenberger got all his immunizations, despite his parent’s strong belief against vaccinations. Lindenberger had researched the benefits of vaccines and realized the importance of getting properly vaccinated outweighed the possibility of offending his mother by going against her beliefs.

Moreover, the “anti-vaccine” movement is a microcosm of America’s larger problem. Too many people are willing to abandon fact, reason, and science simply to support their philosophy, then turn a blind eye to the repercussions of their ignorance. As a society, we have abused our ability to think for ourselves and question what we are told. Free thinking does not mean overlooking fact and science, but rather exploring ideas to further expand our knowledge and understanding of the world.

The willful rejection of proven science can have dangerous consequences. Parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated not only but their own children at risk, but also all children who come into contact with their non-vaccinated child who is at a higher risk of being a carrier of a easily preventable disease. That is a level of ignorance that borders on criminality.

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