A woman in Michigan came out of jail furious to find the father of her child had immunized the child during her time in jail. She said that she was refraining from immunizing her child because of religious reasons, reported the Forum.
Sheela Ramamoorthy, an associate professor of microbiological sciences, said that North Dakota immunization rates are on the decline.
Her research is focused largely on vaccine development. She believes that they are one of the most important prevention measures in modern health.
“I do think vaccines are one of the greatest discoveries we’ve ever made,” Ramamoorthy said.
Jane Schuh a proffesor of microbiology and an immunologist herself also advocated for vaccines.
She said that many of us do not appreciate vaccines for what they are worth as many people today in the U.S. have grown up when disease was not prevalent due to the creation of vaccines. Through the administration of vaccines on the majority of the population we’ve cultivated a strong herd immunity.
Herd immunity is when enough people are vaccinated that contracting disease becomes highly improbable for the rest of the population. Generally the population that does not receive the vaccination can not receive any vaccinations because they are immunocompromised. These people may include those who have received a recent organ transplant, have received chemo therapy or have certain diseases.
“The reason we have vaccines is because there was a real need, people died of horrible painful diseases that now are preventable,” Schuh said.
The public fails to see this as a problem, some think a lack of seeing a problem means that it is no longer a problem.
This is one of the issues that health professionals face regularly, “Some people who are choosing not to vaccinate their children probably don’t recognize how horrible these diseases are because we don’t see those diseases like we did before we had those vaccines,” Schuh said.
Another reason for a lack of vaccination is the internet, or rather the bad information they find on the internet. For example, the claim that vaccines cause autism has been largely discredited by the scientific community.
Schuss sees why seeing this information on the internet would alarm parents. How would a parent like to cause their child disease? Some parents may not want to risk it.
“People still have that scared center of ‘what if I cause my child harm?’ You are much more likely to cause your child harm by not vaccinating,” Schuh said.
“Vaccines are framed as a personal choice, but it’s not just your choice, you’re choosing for everyone around you,” Schuss said, and Ramamoorthy agreed.
Children, the elderly, immunocompromised, those who have religious beliefs that contradict getting vaccines are all already at increased risk of contracting a disease. By those who are able to become vaccinated getting vaccinated they create a safe environment for others to live in.