Please Vaccinate Your Children


Robinson Lee, Staff Writer

Honestly, this article shouldn’t be in the Opinion section. It’s a simple concept. Vaccinate your children. Almost 20 years ago, measles was considered eliminated from being a threat to the American populace. Yet, there were over a thousand cases just last year, putting the “eliminated” status of measles at risk. This shouldn’t be a problem we face, but somehow it is. We all know the answer to why this is a problem: the anti-vaccination advocates.

When I attended the Women’s March, I saw anti-vaxxers raise their signs up and for some reason the camera at Los Angeles City Hall focused on their signs. I dread to think about how many more people genuinely think that vaccines are dangerous. If they caused autism, contained mercury, or if it was actually a government conspiracy to spread viruses, I would not be here writing this article right now. It does not help that numerous celebrities like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Robert DeNiro, and Jenny McCarthy support the anti-vax movement, encouraging other parents not to keep their child safe.

In that respect, I would like to address anti-vax parents. You may have the right to not vaccinate your child, but you do not have the right nor the moral authority to be the cause of another’s illness. A major benefit of mass vaccination is herd immunity. Because so many people are resistant to certain diseases thanks to vaccines, viruses and diseases have less likelihood to spread and infect others. This greatly helps those who have legitimate vaccine allergies, as disease is unable to spread from person to person, so the most susceptible will be protected. Thus, by not vaccinating your children, you are actively contributing to the spread of harmful diseases to the detriment of other’s well being. You may be okay with letting your children get smallpox, but I doubt many other responsible parents would want to inflict such pain on their children.

Another excuse that many anti-vaxxers bring up is the religious excuse. Though religious excuses can facilitate those who are barred from vaccination, unfortunately, it opens the door to manipulate these excuses for people who are motivated by non-religious reasons. According to a medical article published by the National Center of Biotechnology Information, no major religions promote the idea that vaccines are harmful which leaves most “religious exemptions” as personal beliefs or the beliefs of smaller religious groups. Though less prominent religious groups may consider the right not to get a vaccination important, many situations of “religious exemptions” are simply ways to legally get around state or school mandated vaccination laws. On the other hand, an amount of “faith-based healing” groups and denominations find vaccinations objectable. Some groups include Church of Christ, Scientist and Faith Tabernacle. Another congregation that isn’t faith-based but finds some objections is Dutch Reformed Congregations.

It’s important to note that many of these objections are not consistent and vary from each community. For example, the Church of Christ, Scientist doesn’t have strict rules on how to approach vaccination, though members can get exemptions. But according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Parents were more likely to claim religious exemptions for vaccines in states that didn’t permit personal belief exemptions.” Of course, it is reasonable that religious groups have the leeway to choose how their children should be treated, but we must acknowledge the fact that laxer religious exemptions can allow parents who have no faith-based reason to ignore an essential component of keeping their child healthy.

It’s ironic how even in the prized information age when the limits of communication have become a memory of the distant past, misinformation and harmful ideas can spread just as fast as credible truth. Parents do have a right to make choices for their children, but not when there is a moral, legal, and ethical obligation to prevent sickness from spreading to others. Please vaccinate your children.


Graphic courtesy of IDEAS.TED.COM