Opinion: Please vaccinate your children to help save lives

Alyssa Ochss

There has been a measles outbreak in Washington recently, and it is the cause of panic for many people. Many news sources are saying the state is cracking down on the vaccine exemption.

Vaccines have been a subject spoken about among the American people for a long time. Questions have been raised as to whether they cause autism, which they do not. There have been studies by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center proving they do not. However, they are still up for debate somehow.

Washington is one of the states that has vaccine exemptions due to religious, philosophical or medical reasons. “Philosophical” means for virtually any reason, parents and other people can decide not to vaccinate.

One of the reasons why measles is spreading so fast is because not everyone in the state has gotten vaccinated. According to The Washington Post, in some communities “being anti-vaccine is as acceptable as being vegan or going gluten free.”

When you don’t vaccinate your children, not only are you putting the people around you at risk, but those who are not able to get vaccines. People with weaker immune systems, such as the elderly and infants, are more at risk.

Most of these measles outbreaks, according to NPR, are in children who have not been vaccinated. Not vaccinating your children puts them at risk and when your child goes to school, they put their classmates at risk.

Vaccines keep children and adults from getting harmful diseases and keeps those diseases, such as measles and smallpox, from coming back. Now that people are not vaccinated, these diseases are making a comeback, and they have even caused one state to already go into a state of emergency.

According to the NPR article, the rates of vaccinated children are dropping and the doctors in Washington said the measles outbreak was “100 percent avoidable.” Dr. Alan Melnick, the doctor who contributed to the NPR article, also said, “We should have eradicated measles not only from the United States but from the world by now.”

These diseases that have been thought to have been eradicated are coming back because people are not vaccinating themselves or their children. It is important to get children and others vaccinated to prevent outbreaks like the one in Washington, stop people from dying from the diseases and protect those who don’t have the immune systems to stop it themselves.

People don’t want to have another outbreak like the measles in other states and vaccines can help prevent that. Michigan is also one of the states that has exemptions for all three reasons mentioned before, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to neglect getting vaccinated for preventable diseases and saving lives.

It is important to prevent these diseases from spreading so people don’t end up dying from them, and so they don’t come back. To protect those around you, yourself and your children, please get them vaccinated.