We are getting to that age where parenthood could be crossing our minds, or possibly even already started. On Facebook, numerous couples I knew in high school were posting photos of their new babies over a year ago.
With all this being said, budding young parents should be aware of the falsity of the anti-vaccine movement. Babies need their vaccinations, and there is a growing populous who are starting to hold back on their children’s essential vaccinations in fear of them contracting side-effects, like the development of autism. Leading this fear-mongering campaign is B-list celebrity Jenny McCarthy, who blames her son’s Autism (an article published on Radar Online stated a rumor that he may not even suffer from autism) on certain vaccinations he received during infancy. She has been in and out of the news in recent years, using her celebrity status to raise awareness about this particular aspect of modern medicine.
I usually have no interest at all in celebrities’ lifestyles or opinions, but this particular case caught my attention. I believe vaccinations save lives, and do not cause autism.
According to NationalGeographic.com, the theory began in 1998 when a study was published in the Journal Lancet. In 2010, because of its lack of valid scientific evidence and the declaration of the piece being completely fraudulent, the study was retracted. The lead author of the study, Andrew Wakefield, was also stripped of his medical license. You would think that this event in of itself would be enough to quell anti-vaccination supporters, but it hasn’t been enough. Reasonable people need only look to the polio outbreak for justifiable proof, where in the mid-50s, the polio vaccine that was introduced by Jonas Salk nearly eradicated the deadly disease here in the United States.
An unvaccinated world would be a dangerous one, and yet McCarthy still preaches on her perch that vaccines are the devil’s medicine. It makes no sense whatsoever.
Let’s hypothetically say that vaccines could potentially cause autism in developing children, yet still prevent debilitating disease. An immediate alternative would not exist, and refraining from vaccination could potentially cause great harm. Would you rather take the chance on contracting polio, measles, smallpox or another disastrous disease by receiving a life-saving vaccine? To me, the choice is pretty easy.
Fear mongering has become all too common. People preach like they are experts on any given topic, and even if reputable sources disprove whatever is being argued, these people completely disregard it and continue on. It would not be such a problem if it only negatively affected those people that preached it, but it doesn’t. Others get wrapped up in an intricate web of lies these people create, and can’t escape. McCarthy is a prime example of this, and the really sad thing is that she could end up costing innocent children their lives because of her anti-vaccination support.
Chris Chipman is a junior English major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to email@example.com.