Vaccinations help save lives

An article from the British Medical Journal states, “Two and a half years after beginning to hear evidence, the General Medical Council (GMC) has ruled that three researchers acted improperly in the conduct of their research into a proposed new syndrome of autistic enterocolitis” (Bedford and Elliman, 2010).

This research, although proven wrong and retracted, is the main reason that people still believe it is possible for vaccines, such as the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines, to cause autism in children.

Even if, for some reason, there are still people out there insisting that the MMR vaccine gives children a chance of acquiring autism, have those same people also realized the risk of a child contracting an actual life-threatening disease, such as measles, without receiving that vaccine?

A child with autism could have declined social skills, trouble with communication, unusual patterns of behavior, and may look slightly different than most children. Autism is not contagious, and those children are still able to go to school and resume their daily lives without affecting any of the other children around them.

Measles usually begin as presenting with a fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash that starts on the face and can spread to the rest of the body. Measles can then eventually lead to ear infections that can cause hearing loss, pneumonia, brain swelling, and death. Measles is spread very easily throughout the air, and people who are not immune who come in contact with someone who has measles are very likely to contract it.

Measles had been eradicated in 2000. However, there have been outbreaks of it in recent years within our area, involving multiple deaths that are preventable. The U.S. had a record year for measles cases in 2014, with 667 cases being reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And hundreds of people have also contracted it in the years to follow.

In 2018, a resident at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh contracted measles. The entire campus had to be warned that if not properly vaccinated, they had a high risk of contracting measles because this one person who would have been all around the campus had it.

From Jan. 1 to April 4, 2019, there have already been 465 cases of measles, across 19 states, reported to the CDC. This means that within the first four months of this year, we are already at the second greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.

So, in my opinion, if I had the choice of being vaccinated with a risk of autism (not actually a risk) or to not be vaccinated with the high risk of contracting measles and potentially dying, I would choose the non-life-threatening route.

Jozie Seaman