For many years, vaccinations were an accepted part of life for children and their parents. The government mandated them, and few people argued. After all, they were considered the most effective tool in stopping the spread of a number of horrible diseases.
Vaccination has practically eradicated several diseases that were once quite common. But in recent years, there has been mounting evidence that vaccinations can be harmful to children. This has led to public outcry, and a growing number of parents are now refusing to have their children vaccinated.
Vaccines and Autism
One of the most prevalent arguments against vaccines is their reported link to autism. Autism cases have increased at an alarming rate over the past decade. Although vaccine manufacturers deny it, many experts believe that this rise in autism is closely linked to childhood vaccinations.
There are two issues regarding vaccines and autism. The first is the use of thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines that contains mercury. The use of thimerosal was once allowed in vaccines, even though the mercury in it is a neurotoxin. It is believed that vaccinations given between the late 1980s and 2003 had levels of thimerosal beyond what was considered safe, and may have caused autism in many children.
The other vaccine controversy pertaining to autism involves the MMR vaccine, which does not contain thimerosal. This vaccine contains three sets of viruses, and it is administered at an age when autism is most likely to be discovered. It is believed that the MMR vaccine may cause autism in children who have problems with their immune systems.
Other Vaccine Controversies
Autism isn’t the only problem that has been linked to vaccines. Some opponents of vaccines in their current state believe that they cause healthy cells to mutate. This can cause the immune system to attack them, leading to autoimmune disorders.
Other health problems that have been unofficially linked to vaccination include brain damage, cardiovascular disease, metabolic problems, and even cancer. Vaccines are also blamed for Gulf War Syndrome. With all of these potential problems, it is no wonder that mandatory vaccination programs have become so controversial.
Do I Have to Get My Child Vaccinated?
Vaccines are currently mandated by law, but most states allow religious exemptions to the requirements. Some also allow philosophical exemptions, so if you are hesitant to allow your child to receive vaccines, check your state’s laws. Also, some of the newer vaccines are optional. It is important to know and exercise your rights regarding these.
Opponents to the current vaccine laws are pushing for stricter regulations and modifications to the vaccine schedule. Some also endorse different methods of immune therapy. These changes could result in a safer way to protect ourselves and our children against disease.