Why Vaccinate? Why Not?

By Christy Lenahan - Macaroni Kid Health Hacks Contributor February 7, 2019

Last year the U.S. saw an increase in measles cases with a total of 372 cases reported. In

January of 2019, the U.S. already had 79 cases of measles reported to the CDC in 10 different states

(California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and

Washington). If we continue at this rate, by the end of the year there will be approximately 1,000 cases

of documented measles.

So what are the signs and symptoms of measles and why should you care? Measles usually

presents with cold-like symptoms such as cough, fever, runny nose, and watery eyes. The typical

measles rash, flat red spots, begins three to five days after the cold-like symptoms and starts on the face

then spreads downward to the rest of the body. Common complications of measles include ear

infections and diarrhea. While this seems like a harmless disease, there are severe complications that

can arise.

For instance, it is reported that one out of every 20 children with measles will get pneumonia

and one out of every 1,000 children will develop swelling of the brain that can result in neurological

damage. Additionally, for every 1,000 children who are infected with measles, one or two will die and

these are preventable deaths! Moreover, even if a child gets measles and does not suffer any

complications, he or she is still at risk of developing a fatal neurological disease (subacute sclerosing

panencephalitis or SSPE) 7 to 10 years after the initial infection especially if they were infected with

measles before the age of 2.

So why vaccinate? Vaccinations prevent diseases and prevent death. I am sure every one of

you reading this article knows the heartache of seeing your child ill or hurting and not being able to fix it.

This is something you can fix…actually, you can prevent! For those of you who are still skeptical because

of all the anti-vaxxer autism hype, let’s not forget that this all stemmed from an extremely small and

unethical study of 12 children in the UK in which some of the research funding was provided by

attorneys of parents who were involved in lawsuits against vaccine companies. Moreover, in 2010, the

medical journal, The Lancet, which originally published the research retracted the paper – but not

before it had been sensationalized by the media worldwide.

There are countless studies that actually debunk this myth…in fact, after reviewing studies that

included 1.8 million children (not 12) the National Academy of Medicine determined there was NO

evidence showing a relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. Whether you are well-versed in

research or not, the study of 12 children as opposed to 1.8 million should at least result in some

reasonable speculation. So why not vaccinate?