Groups of Anti-Vaxxers gather on Facebook to talk about their hatred of vaccines. Their posts consist of mostly protesting, boycotting companies, and how all vaccines are simply poison. (Photo in public domain of Flickr)
As flu season is gearing up for winter, the topic of Anti-Vaxxers has come up again. Over the past few years, Anti-Vaxxing has become an increasingly alarming issue. These parents believe in avoiding vaccinations for a number of reasons, whether it’s religious or fear of the government, they don’t have scientific proof to justify their claims.
Anti-vaxxers believe vaccinations lead to autism and other life-threatening illnesses. The research for this claim simply doesn’t add up. A former Anti-Vaxxer used to support a 1998 Lancet study conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that claims to connect vaccines to potentially cause autism; studies debunked and proved no correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism.
I wanted to find a real group of Anti-Vaxxers, so I could try and see their point in the situation. I ended up finding Facebook group “@AntiVaxxer” and was immediately surrounded with anti-vaccine propaganda. The group’s logo is a winged sword with a ruby heart in the middle. “Anti-Vaxxer” is clearly displayed in the logo along with slogans such as “Medical Freedom” and “Fear Not”. As I was scrolling through posts and comments, I saw claims that said all vaccines have hazardous material such as carcinogens, neurotoxins, even aborted fetuses, horse blood, and monkey brains.
Other posts had terrible comments attacking Pro-Vaxxers. Jen Arnold, who is a star of TLC’s “The Little Couple” had posted a picture of herself resting after a cold and promoting people to get their flu shot. The woman who reposted this on the Facebook group captioned the post: “I have no words.” As I looked through the comments, one I came across appalled me. “Little person, little brain…oops I said it…” Doctors diagnosed Arnold with Osteochondrodysplasia and she’s four feet tall. The Anti-Vaxxers were constantly bashing Pro-Vaxxers for infecting and endangering their children.
Because this belief is on the rise in the U.S., the decline in some viral infections is halting. An increase in viral infections are occuring. We could possibly lose our herd immunity which is essential, especially with the world’s population on the rise; herd immunity is the buildup of being resistant to diseases through genetics over time.
Imagine if the majority of students at Leesville weren’t vaccinated. The amount of illness spreading around the school would be extremely dangerous. Students would be risking their education to take time to recover from illnesses that can be prevented from existing vaccines. The MMR vaccine has been around since 1963, and since its introduction, the number of cases has dropped substantially. Before common vaccines, the MMR death rate was 2.6 million per year. Now, the rate has decreased to 122,000 a year, mostly in third world countries.
Whatever Anti-Vaxxers believe, vaccines benefit our society, and it’s not just a government conspiracy.