The topic of whether or not child vaccination is good or bad has been very hot recently. The choice between getting your children vaccinated can be an extremely hard one, and that decision may impact the health of your child for life. In my opinion, I would get my kids vaccinated in a heartbeat, but across North America more and more parents are deciding to opt out of the process that has been the norm for decades.
In all, vaccines have brought seven major human diseases under some degree of control – smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, yellow fever,whooping cough, polio, and measles. All of these diseases were feared and faced by plenty of people before vaccines were introduced. With the horrible effects of these diseases permanently remembered in history, why would one even consider avoiding vaccination in the first place?
The answer is simple: fear. Vaccines can cause serious and sometimes fatal side effects and can contain harmful ingredients. Meanwhile, others state that they believe that the government should not intervene in personal medical choices. According to the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), all vaccines carry a risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) in about one per million children. Understandably, this could easily worry parents into second guessing vaccination without first contacting their doctor or doing their own research with an open mind. While many different ingredients are considered to be dangerous for different reasons, thimerosal, a mercury compound is the most popular among the anti-vaccine community. This is the substance that some physicians believe is linked to autism. While time and time again, physicians and doctors across the globe have disproved any significant link to autism, the fear of having a child with autism drives parents away from vaccines. Rob Ring Chief Science Officer, Autism Speaks, an organization supporting those with autism, states that “Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism. We urge that all children be fully vaccinated.”  Yet still parents will conspire against their doctors and the government and avoid getting their children vaccinated.
In an episode of a popular Youtube series “Scishow” Hank Green discusses the science of anti-vaccination.
I am pro vaccination along with the majority of others who also understand the benefits of a vaccinated child. Vaccines can save children’s lives. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “most childhood vaccines are 90%-99% effective in preventing disease.” and to me, this statistic significantly outweighs the one in a million chance of anaphylactic fatality.  Also, Vaccines are proven to be effective simply due to the fact that the majority of the horrid diseases from the past are unknown to the current population. If you asked a highschool student what smallpox was, you would likely get an answer but only that they have heard of it. The smallpox disease has been eliminated by vaccines, and other diseases are well on their way to extinction. The whooping cough was a widespread disease that caused a fever of over 105 degrees and in some cases, seizures.  Because of the whooping cough vaccination, 64 percent of cases are prevented worldwide, every year.  While today, nobody thinks twice about catching a disease, before vaccinations were introduced diseases like smallpox were living nightmares.
The host of a popular American talk show invites doctors to express their feelings regarding the anti-vaccine movement.
“The smallpox was always present, filling the churchyards with corpses, tormenting with constant fears all whom it had stricken, leaving on those whose lives it spared the hideous traces of its power, turning the babe into a changeling at which the mother shuddered, and making the eyes and cheeks of the big hearted maiden objects of horror to the lover.”
-T.B. Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James II, Vol IV
This quote is just one example of how a now preventable disease can tear apart the population, and how serious these diseases were at the time. I can only imagine what it was like to live with these diseases alive and present, and I admit that I am very lucky to live in a time where these diseases have mainly been erased or highly controlled.
Child vaccination and the fact that some parents are avoiding it is a very complicated issue. But, with so many facts pointing to the safety and importance of child vaccination it is hard to find any significant reason to avoid vaccines. I say that we stick to what has worked, and is still working, listen to our doctors, and consider the history of disease before making an uneducated decision.
How do you feel that doctors and other medical professionals could approach the anti-vaccine community? Do you think that children’s vaccination should be up to the parents? Why? Leave your responses in the comment section below and start a conversation of your own.
“Vaccines Bring 7 Diseases under Control.” Vaccines Bring 7 Diseases under Control. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. . http://www.unicef.org/pon96/hevaccin.htm 
“Vaccines ProCon.org.” ProConorg Headlines. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. . http://vaccines.procon.org/ 
“Vaccines and Autism.” Autism Speaks. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/policy-statements/information-about-vaccines-and-autism 
“AAP.org.” AAP.org. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. https://www.aap.org/en-us/Pages/Default.aspx 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pertussis/fs-parents.html