Carla Maas

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I plan to write about vaccines in children because I have an interest in the medical field and in medicine. It is relevant because it is a big controversy that many people are talking about.

Part One– As a young adult, I am extremely thankful that I am healthy and well. I have never had any serious diseases, and part of that is due to the fact that my parents had me vaccinated as a baby. Some of the most common vaccines are for chicken pox, hepatitis A (for contaminated water), measles, and polio. Without vaccines, these diseases can be very serious or deadly. Vaccines are an easy way to keep children safe. On the other hand though, people don’t understand how a two second shot could save an entire life.

Part 3: vaccinations-opposing-view

Although many people believe strongly that all children should be vaccinated, there is always an opposing view. Some parents in today’s generation believe that there are too many risks associated with having children be vaccinated (“Talking” 2). The most common side effects include: swelling from the injection, redness, soreness, and fever. Of course, there is always the potential for a more serious side effect, which in this case would be an allergic reaction (“Vaccinations” par. 2,3). When a child has an allergic reaction from a vaccine, they may experience shortness of breath, vomiting, wheezing, and much more (Chung par. 5).

In addition to a possibility of negative reactions, parents may fear that their child’s immune system is not prepared for all of the vaccines. In fact 25% of parents believe that their child’s immune system could be weakened by the vaccines (Diekema par. 8). Parents often feel this way because infants from the age of a newborn to 15 months get around 10 vaccines, and children ages 18 months to 18 years get around 14 different kinds of vaccines (“Infants” par. 1,2). With the amount of number of shots and risks involved with vaccinating children, it is no surprise when parents are overprotective of their most prized possession.

Works Cited

Diekema, Douglas S. “Responding to Parental Refusals of Immunization of Children.” Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics, 01 May 2005. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

“Talking With Patients About Weight Loss: Tips for Primary Care Professionals.” PsycEXTRA Dataset (n.d.): 1-4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, Mar. 2012. Web. 2 Mar. 2017.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Infants, Children, and Teens.” Vaccines.gov. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 01 Feb. 2016. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

“Vaccine Side Effects.” NHS Choices. NHS, 04 July 2016. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

Part 4

A large controversial topic that is discussed today is the topic of vaccinating children. While many people believe that having their child undergo so many vaccines could be dangerous, others believe that vaccinating children should be mandatory. So why do people feel that vaccines are so important?

First off, it is important to note that anyone who is not vaccinated is vulnerable to diseases. Every illness has a level at which vaccine coverage must be at in order to prevent the disease from spreading. For example, over 90% of a population must be vaccinated in order to have superlative control over Measles (Hendrix, et al. 274). Measles is an acute illness that causes skin rashes, high fevers, and spots inside the facial cheeks (Mayo Clinic Staff par. 2). Many people are worried about the spread of measles because there was an large outbreak in 2014. In total, there were 383 cases, with a majority of the cases taking place at Amish communities in Ohio (“Measles” par. 4). Although Measles appears to be a big deal with small outbreaks every year, measles is not the only disease that worries people. Other diseases that are considered dangerous and worrisome include: diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, mumps, influenza, whopping cough, and many more (“Understand” 3-7). The experts that study this issue, such as researchers, scientists, and doctors, claim that their research shows “the benefits outweigh the risks” when it comes to getting vaccinated. They feel strongly that because there has been a dramatic decrease in disease outbreaks, the vaccines are worth getting (Glanz, et al. 2). In 1963, before there was a vaccine for measles, doctors say there were approximately five million cases reported. Meanwhile in 2013, there were only 187 cases. The cases that were reported came from almost all unvaccinated patients (“What” par. 2,6). Of course it is impossible for vaccines to cover people 100%, but they do tend to produce immunity about 90% of the time (“Vaccines” par. 1).

With background knowledge on different kinds of diseases, disease outbreaks, and the benefits of being vaccinated vs. the benefits of not, one can ask him/herself if it is worth it to be vaccinated.

Works Cited

Glanz, Jason M., et al. “Addressing Parental Vaccine Concerns: Engagement, Balance, and Timing.” Plos Biology, vol. 13, no. 8, 07 Aug. 2015, pp. 1-8. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002227.

Hendrix, Kristin S., et al. “Ethics and Childhood Vaccination Policy in the United States.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 106, no. 2, Feb. 2016, pp. 273-278. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302952.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Measles.” Mayo Clinic. MFMER, 24 May 2014. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

“Measles Cases and Outbreaks.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Mar. 2017. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

“Understand The Disease.” Snohomish Health District. Snohomish Health District, 2011. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

“What Is Measles History in America – National Vaccine Information Center.” National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). National Vaccine Information Center, 2017. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.

Vaccinating Children

Three seconds. The amount of time it has taken you to read this far, but also the amount of time it takes to get a vaccination. Vaccinations date back many years ago, and they continue to discover more each year. While there are multiple vaccines, people still refuse to get them. In fact, twenty six states in the United States do not have 95% coverage for MMR (mumps measles, and rubella) (Levs). So if vaccines are so quick and proven beneficial, why do people still choose not to get them?

  Some parents in today’s generation believe that their child’s immune system is not prepared for all of the vaccines. In fact 25% of parents believe that their child’s immune system could be weakened by the vaccines (Diekema). Parents often feel this way because infants from the age of a newborn to 15 months get around 10 vaccines, and children ages 18 months to 18 years get around 14 different kinds of vaccines (“Infant”). It is no surprise that parents are protective over their little ones, but vaccines only make a baby’s immune system stronger, not weaker.

Every day a baby’s immune system fights over hundreds of germs. Vaccines are made up of antigens which come from weakened germs. Even with the several vaccines that babies and children receive throughout their childhood, it is no where near the amount that their immune system fights against daily (“Infant”). Therefore, vaccines do not affect a child’s immune system in a negative way. Not only do they positively impact the immune system, but they also do not cause autism.

A common worry that anti-vaccine parents have is that vaccines can cause autism. The idea that vaccines lead to autism is a common misconception. The myth became popular in 1997 when a British surgeon, Andrew Wakefield, released an article stating that vaccines, particularly the one used for mumps and measles, was causing children to get autism. Due to Wakefield’s high credibility, many people believed him. What most people do not know is that Dr. Wakefield had his doctoral license taken away after he published the article due to false information (“Vaccine Myths”). Since Dr. Wakefield’s article, many researchers have studied this falsified idea. The myth officially came to an end in 2014 when a meta-analysis done on over one million children concluded that there is no correlation between autism and vaccines (Willingham and Helft).

After all of these misconceptions are cleared up, some parents still believe that their child will be okay if they are not vaccinated. A common phrase that is often said is, “if vaccines work, then why is it a threat to others if my child is not vaccinated?” A sad but living reality is that not everyone has the ability to be vaccinated. There are various reasons why people cannot get vaccinated, but the main reasons include: severe allergic reactions, nervous system problems, heart and liver complications, has or previously had cancer, and many more (“Vaccines”). In order to protect the people who cannot be immunized, there must be a herd community (a community that is almost fully immunized). 

In order for a town to be considered a herd community, over 90% of the people must be vaccinated (Hendrix, et al. 274). Doing so will not only keep people safe, but it also prevents large outbreaks. One common disease for outbreaks is measles. Measles is an acute illness that causes skin rashes, high fevers, and spots inside the facial cheeks (Mayo Clinic Staff). There seems to be an outbreak of Measles every year. In 2014, there were 383 cases, with a majority of the cases taking place at Amish communities in Ohio (“Measles”). The problem was that the Amish communities did not receive vaccinations. Fortunately, the outbreak was able to be contained, but there must be an effort to stop risking lives.

Is the chance of having a couple small side effects worth facing death? Parents often worry that their child will experience too many side effects after receiving a vaccine. The most common side effects include: swelling from the injection, redness, soreness, and fever (“Vaccine Side”). If parents choose to not get their child vaccinated, they could catch a disease that could have been prevented with a vaccination such as diphtheria, mumps, and polio. Other diseases that can be prevented with vaccines include HIB (infection under the skin), Hepatitis A and B (chronic infections), Varicella (Chickenpox), and Influenza (the flu). All of these diseases have serious side effects that can be lifelong such as hearing loss, paralysis, bacteria in the nervous system, and respiratory failure (“Understand”). The experts that study this issue, such as researchers, scientists, and doctors, claim that their research shows “the benefits outweigh the risks” when it comes to getting vaccinated. They feel strongly that because there has been a dramatic decrease in disease outbreaks, the vaccines are worth getting (Glanz, et al. 2). In 1963, before there was a vaccine for measles, doctors say there were approximately five million cases reported. Meanwhile in 2013, there were only 187 cases. The cases that were reported came from almost all unvaccinated patients (“What”). The situation is similar for the other diseases listed earlier. Of course it is impossible for vaccines to cover people 100%, but they do tend to produce immunity about 90% of the time (“Vaccines”).

With background knowledge on different kinds of diseases, disease outbreaks, and the benefits of being vaccinated versus the benefits of not, one can ask him/herself if it is worth it to be vaccinated.

So should children get vaccinated or not? The choice is ultimately yours, but before you decide, I want to leave you with this story written by Carla Newby.

“As the general manager of the Meningitis Foundation of America and a mother, I would like to tell you about my baby, my only son, Jacob. He touched so many lives in the six short years he was here on earth.

In the fall of 1998, life was good for our family. Jacob was an all-American kid with no special medical problems. He loved life and he got along well with everybody.

My nightmare began on Monday, October 26. Jake was feeling ill when I went in to wake him and his sister, Lacey, for school. I gave him some ibuprofen and he lay around for the rest of the day. About 5 p.m. he said he really didn’t feel well. He had a fever. I bathed him with cool water and held him. When I discovered his temperature was 104.5, I called our family physician and told him that I wanted to take Jacob to the ER. The doctor discouraged me, but I finally convinced him.

At the hospital, they took blood and confirmed there was an infection somewhere. More tests were ordered and all of them came back negative. The ER doctor diagnosed Jacob with strep throat and gave us a very strong antibiotic. My mother was with us and asked the doctor to check for meningitis or encephalitis. The doctor said she wasn’t concerned about meningitis and that if Jacob wasn’t better by Thursday, I should take him to our doctor. She thought Jacob could probably return to school on Thursday.

That night Jacob didn’t sleep well, but he felt a little better the next morning. We had the best day we ever had; doing all his favorite things and eating his favorite foods. But by 6 p.m., he said his head felt like it was going to crack open. He continued to get worse. I got out my medical assisting book and started reading about meningitis. I began to suspect Jacob had the symptoms. I talked to my doctor again and he told me to get Jacob to the ER right away. I had to carry him to the car.

We waited in the ER for an hour. Jacob was vomiting and didn’t want anyone to hold him. His face was gray and he acted very tired. Once we got in to be seen, he seemed to be sleeping. But a little later he became combative and started making high-pitched screams and throwing himself back onto the bed.

I told the doctor I thought he had meningitis. She ordered a CAT scan and the results were normal. She finally decided to do a spinal tap–the only way to confirm meningitis. As we waited for the results, Jacob called for me. I touched his hand and told him I was there for him. A while later, he sat straight up and screamed, “Get my daddy!” Those were the last words he ever spoke.

They put him on oxygen and a variety of other monitors and we waited. The spinal tap results came back. Jacob was suffering from pneumococcal meningitis.

They told us they wanted to transport Jacob to another hospital. I rode with him in the ambulance. I still thought that everything would be okay. Maybe we would have to stay the night, but then Jake would be released the next day.

At the second hospital, I met up with my family. We were told to stay in the waiting room while they worked on Jake. The doctor finally came out and took us to a private room. I’ll never forget his words. He said, “Jacob is a very sick little boy. He’s on a respirator, he’s in a coma, and he’s not going to make it.”

I didn’t believe it. I told him he was wrong–that Jacob would pull through. But eventually I knew–I just knew that God was going to take him. Fourteen hours later, two days after he first got sick, they pronounced Jacob brain dead. I crawled into bed with him and sang our favorite song, “You Are My Sunshine.”

There are no words to describe the horror of watching your child dying. My nightmare has never ended.

The funeral was November 1, but I don’t remember it. Everything was just a blur.

Now I work very hard at the Meningitis Foundation of America to ensure that other parents never have to experience the heartache that my family has endured. I urge parents everywhere to get their children vaccinated. I believe that if the pneumococcal vaccine for children had been available during the first few years of Jacob’s life, we would not have lost him. Vaccination is very important. It is a matter of life and death” (Newby).

Works Cited

Diekema, Douglas S. “Responding to Parental Refusals of Immunization of Children.” Pediatrics, vol. 115, no. 5, American Academy of Pediatrics, 01 May 2005, www. pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/115/5/1428..info.

Glanz, Jason M., et al. “Addressing Parental Vaccine Concerns: Engagement, Balance, and Timing.” Plos Biology, vol. 13, no. 8, 07 Aug. 2015, pp. 1-8. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002227.

Hendrix, Kristin S., et al. “Ethics and Childhood Vaccination Policy in the United States.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 106, no. 2, Feb. 2016, pp. 273-278. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302952.

“Infant Immunizations FAQs.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 15 Apr. 2016, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/parent-questions.html.

Levs, Josh. “The Unvaccinated, by the Numbers.” CNN, 4 Feb. 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/03/health/the-unvaccinated/.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Measles.” Mayo Clinic, MFMER, 24 May 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/measles/basics/symptoms/con-20019675.

“Measles Cases and Outbreaks.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Mar. 2017, http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html.

Newby, Carla. “Boy Dies of Pneumococcal Meningitis.” Vaccine Information You Need, 26 Jan. 2013, http://www.vaccineinformation.org/infants-children/testimonies/pneumococcal/jacob-newby.asp.

“Understand The Disease.” Snohomish Health District, 2011, http://www.snohd.org/Portals/0/Snohd/Provider/files/UnderstandTheDiseaseParentGuide_CD.pdf.

“Vaccine Myths Debunked.” Public Health, 27 May 2016,

http://www.publichealth.org/public-awareness/understanding-vaccines/vaccine-myths-debunked/.

“Vaccine Side Effects.” NHS Choices, 04 July 2016, http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/reporting-side-effects.aspx.

“Vaccines and Preventable Diseases.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 02 Dec. 2016, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/.

“What Is Measles History in America.” National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), 2017, http://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/measles/measles-history-in-america.aspx.

Willingham, Emily, and Laura Helft. “The Autism-Vaccine Myth.” PBS, 05 Sept. 2014, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/autism-vaccine-myth.html.

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