December 10, 2012
The Importance of Vaccinations for Children
Since Edward Jenner introduced the first vaccine, a vaccination against smallpox, in 1778 (Allen, 48) the world has been a bit skeptical. The concept of inoculation is counter-intuitive—what sense does it make to inject a healthy person with the very virus they’re trying to prevent he or she from contracting? The very idea of it seems dangerous, even reckless. The issue with this uneasy feeling about the safety and sense of vaccinations is ignorance. We do not fully understand our own body’s immune systems; therefore we cannot fully understand how vaccinations work. Many people are under the impression that extremely harmful diseases are, for the most part, wiped out or incredibly rare. They may not see the reason for immunizing themselves or their children. But the truth of the matter is that these incredibly harmful, even deadly diseases are very much prevalent in today’s world. People come into contact with these infectious viruses on a daily basis; it is only our immune systems that keep the infections at bay. And our immune systems can only fight off these diseases through the use of vaccinations.
There is a growing percentage of the population that is choosing against vaccinating their children. These parents against child inoculation have various reasons for opting not to vaccinate, including health concerns, cost of medical treatment, religious or philosophical beliefs, or their place of residence. Large portions of the anti-immunization population see vaccines as being unsafe. There have been countless claims that vaccines are dangerous and cause brain damage, mental retardation, and even arrested physical development. Some radical anti-vaccination activists assert that parents would be better off to not even vaccinate their children at all. One of the biggest controversies against vaccines is that the MMR (measles, mumps,...