By Maggie Stange
Healthcare is a hot topic, but some refuse to benefit from basic medical technology. Because an increasing number of young parents are refusing to vaccinate their children, the measles is resurgent today. Measles is an extremely contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, measles was considered eliminated in 2000, but in 2014 there were 644 cases of the disease in the US. In Jan. 2015 alone, there were 102 cases of measles.
A vaccine is a simple trip to the pediatrician and a few tears a child won’t remember come dinnertime. Children will not remember the time they were vaccinated, but they will remember the time they broke their rib from whooping cough or when they experienced the pain of the measles rash.
“I understand that there are families that in some cases are concerned about the effect of vaccinations. The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not,” President Obama stated in an interview with Today.
Measles is spread mostly by coughing and sneezing, but it can also be spread if a person touches a surface where the virus is present and then touches their nose or mouth. The CDC reported that measles live on a surface for up to two hours after an infected person has coughed or sneezed.
According to an article in National Geographic, the measles vaccine is 95 to 98 percent effective, which means if 100 people were to come in contact with someone infected with the disease, only two to five of the vaccinated people will fall ill.
If an unvaccinated person carrying the measles virus were to come in contact with the students at KU, potentially 204 to 510 vaccinated students will become infected with the virus.
Emily Bistran, a junior geology major said, “Unvaccinated children are not allowed to enter the school systems [in Pennsylvania], but when an unvaccinated homeschooled student is in a club or even uses the same play ground as vaccinated children, innocent people are put at risk.”
We have found a way to eliminate horrible, debilitating and sometimes fatal diseases from our population, and yet they can easily come roaring back.
Charlatans peddle ideas about vaccinations to parents, who are then deciding to let their children go unvaccinated. The system is not out to poison children, and parents are not protecting their children from autism by choosing to not vaccinate their children.
There are people who cannot be vaccinated: those too young and those with true allergic reactions to a vaccine’s ingredients. Children afflicted with horrific diseases such as childhood cancer cannot be vaccinated. We, as a population, have a moral obligation and responsibility to act as their only line of defense against these diseases by vaccinating ourselves. With more and more people shirking this responsibility, there are more outbreaks. This is not Ebola-style fear-mongering. This is a real evil from the past that has come back again.