Promoting facts in the anti-vaxx debate

By Lanthorn Editorial Board | 4/15/19 7:24am

editorial

In recent months, the war between anti-vaxxers and vaxxers has raged on with the outbreak of Measles throughout the United States. In Michigan, the outbreak has spread throughout Oakland and Wayne counties. While measles vaccinations aren’t required for attendance at Grand Valley State University, many students, faculty and staff are urging Lakers to get their vaccines. 

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, a total of 39 measles cases have been confirmed in Michigan since Wednesday, March 13. If the virus spreads to west Michigan, GVSU will be at risk for a campus-wide outbreak.

Anti-vaxxers are well-known for their fight against vaccinations. Many anti-vaxxers believe that vaccines have dangerous effects, such as causing autism or ADHA. However, while anti-vaxxers try to protect the health of their children, they put others at risk. It is estimated that 100,000 people under the age of five are killed each year by the disease. 

Measles is extremely contagious, and once infected, there is no treatment for the measles virus. The virus can be spread through air and direct contact with someone who has it. It can also stay active for up to two hours in the air and on surfaces. Those who don’t have the vaccination have a 90 percent chance of contracting it if around someone with measles. 

While there is no treatment for measles, the virus can be prevented through vaccinations. Usually, these vaccines are given to children within their first two years of life. 

According to WebMD, “The MMR vaccine is 97 percent effective after two doses. Doctors recommend that children get the first dose when they're between 12 and 15 months old, and the second between four and six years old.”

Those who contract measles often experience high fever, red eyes, a runny nose, a sore throat and a large rash. 

People who have vaccinations are not only better protected from measles, but they also eliminate the risk of infecting others. The recent outbreak of measles is believed to be due to the raising number of anti-vaxxers, who prefer the possibility of getting measles over the possibility of having a child with long-term health issues. Those who don’t have the vaccination are at a high risk of contracting the virus and then spreading it to others. 

Vaccinations were created for a reason: to protect people from harmful and even deadly diseases. With the measles vaccine, we have a chance to eliminate measles for good. Anti-vaxxers may be trying to avoid implications, but their actions unintentionally create other issues. Anti-vaxxers cause more harm than good. 

The measles vaccine, MMR, is available at the GVSU Health Center in the Allendale campus. Those who are interested in obtaining the vaccine can set up an appointment by calling (616) 252-6030. 

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