The Anti-Vaccination Movement: An Epidemic Itself?

“Vaccination is not immunization!” yells a protester in front of a hospital. A crowd of people in the city of Seattle stand behind the protestor, cheering him on and holding signs demanding changes in vaccination policies. Large protests like this aren’t just a scene in a movie, but are a growing problem encompassing the United States.

While there have been a constant number of cases of people refusing vaccines throughout history, there has been a resurgence of people not taking them in the past year across various cities in the US. The growing popularity of this movement has made national headlines, with protests becoming more frequent.

People who are part of the anti-vaccination movement argue that the use of vaccines should not be mandated and that they do little to protect the body from serious diseases. Many even argue that our heavy reliance on vaccinations indirectly leads to other chronic diseases such as autism. Ultimately, they argue that the body has to create a natural defense against diseases instead of the use of vaccines.

However, the growing popularity of this movement is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The human population’s constant use of vaccines for the past century has made our bodies constantly reliant on them to protect them from dangerous diseases. In fact, the use of vaccines has made it possible for smallpox to be completely eradicated from the planet, as well as keeping other diseases under control.

Additionally, it ought to be noted that the rise of anti-vaccination in the city of Seattle has led to the rise of a measles outbreak in the region, the largest one in almost 20 years. As a result, the lack of the use of vaccines makes the entire population, even those who are vaccinated, susceptible to devastating diseases that were once thought to be eradicated. Finally, there is a lack of sufficient evidence available to link growing developmental disorders with the growing use of vaccines.

Junior Nicolas Dimaano, an Epidemiology student in the Biomed program, explains that vaccines are our primary mechanism to protect us from the dangers of diseases. Dimaano says that based on epidemiological studies, if a great enough portion of the population does not become vaccinated, then even those who are vaccinated may suffer from the same diseases no matter what.

Overall, it is crucial for the general population to understand the implications of the anti-vaccination movement. While everyone ultimately has the choice of whether they want to have one or not, the potential damage that can be done to the human population by not taking vaccines is something that we are not prepared for. The rise of the anti-vaccination movement may turn into a disease epidemic itself.

Image of a syringe, an item used to administer vaccinations which anti-vaccine protestors are strictly against.

Photo Credit: Vihaan Jain

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