The rise of the anti-vaxxer movement has been a growing concern in public health in recent years. Anti-vaxxers are people who oppose or refuse to get vaccinated against infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and pertussis. While the majority of people understand the importance of vaccinations for not only their own health, but for the health of the community at large, there are still those who are opposed to the idea of vaccinations. Unfortunately, these individuals are putting the rest of us at risk by creating a vulnerable population.
First, it is important to understand why people are against vaccines. Some people are hesitant to vaccinate because of religious or philosophical beliefs. Others may choose to forgo vaccinations because of safety concerns. Common fears include the idea that vaccines can cause autism, can overload the immune system, and may contain ingredients that are harmful to children. Of course, there is no scientific evidence to support any of these claims.
Despite the lack of scientific backing, the rise of the anti-vaxxer movement has caused an increase in the number of people who are not vaccinated. This can lead to a dangerous situation known as “herd immunity”. Herd immunity occurs when a large percentage of the population is vaccinated and therefore can protect those who are not vaccinated, since the virus or bacteria will be unable to spread as easily. Unfortunately, when a large number of people are not vaccinated, the chances of an outbreak increase dramatically.
This is particularly concerning considering the resurgence of infectious diseases that have been previously eliminated from the United States. This is because when the number of people who are not vaccinated increases, the chances of an outbreak of a virus or bacteria increase. For example, measles, which was previously eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, made a comeback in 2019 due to an increase in the number of unvaccinated people, leading to more than 1,200 cases in the U.S.
In addition to the risk of an outbreak of a deadly virus, anti-vaxxers are also putting more vulnerable populations at risk. People who cannot be vaccinated, such as newborns and those with suppressed immune systems, rely on the rest of the population to be vaccinated in order to remain safe. However, if a large portion of the population is not vaccinated, the risk of these vulnerable individuals getting sick increases.
In the end, it is important to remember that vaccinations are a safe and effective way to protect ourselves and our communities from dangerous viruses and bacteria. By being vaccinated, we are not only protecting our own health, but we are also helping to protect those who cannot be vaccinated. So if you are considering skipping your next shot, think twice and consider the risks that everyone is facing.