Having and showing respect for the beliefs of others is of critical importance. Whether it’s religious, political, social or otherwise, for those who want to live politely and civilly, showing that while you may not agree with the decisions and actions of others but that you recognize that differences exist is crucial.
That being said, I’m getting less patient with those who choose not to vaccinate their children. According to Fox News, there are 16 confirmed cases of the measles in New York City right now, making it the worst outbreak in 17 years.
Nine of the 17 cases are children, and four of the people there with measles are in the hospitals. Health officials in New York City are warning unvaccinated residents to go get the simple shot that can prevent the deadly condition.
I don’t doubt that there have been people — babies, kids and adults — who have had adverse reactions to vaccinations of all kinds. I don’t doubt that very, very rarely, babies, kids and adults may have even died solely from a single vaccination. But I also know that hundreds of thousands of babies, kids and adults have been spared from serious illness and death because they made the wise and informed decision to be vaccinated.
The measles are highly contagious — spreading through the air and making others vulnerable for up to two weeks after exposure. Symptoms can be as benign as an annoying rash or cough. But the measles can also be serious, with up to 30 percent of cases leading to such serious complications such as pneumonia and ear infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other possibilities include brain inflammation and death as a result of the measles.
The measles vaccination is part of a the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella). That, of course, is the infamous vaccination that has been proven time and again to not cause autism. And yet some idiot doctor years ago falsified a study linking the MMR vaccine to autism. It is not true. There is not a link. Most people now know that. Some refuse to let it go and understand that the vaccination saves lives; it does not take them away.
Adults can get a measles vaccination if they’re unsure whether they had one as a kid, or they can get a blood test to see whether or not they are immune to the condition. Babies need their first measles vaccination at their first birthday and a second one between the ages of 4 and 6 for full protection. There are side effects to the shot, which is typically some mild soreness at the site of the shot.
But thanks to the conspiracy theorists who will just not go away, measles, which was once believed to be eradicated, has returned nearly threefold. It’s more uncommon in places outside the United States, but as is the case in New York City right now, it’s not impossible to affect people here.
I really do respect people who question authority. And I have tremendous sympathy for the very few people who have suffered severe side effects that truly resulted from nothing but vaccinations. But the honest-to-goodness truth from real and respected doctors, researchers and scientists who have spent way more time in school studying these very specific subjects is that vaccines do way more good than harm.
To all of the conspiracy theorists who have not gone to school and received advance degrees on the topic of vaccinations, please stop clinging to unverified websites and other assorted literature from unaccredited sites and sources. Seek help for your sweeping distrust of actual and very real medical professionals. Get your children vaccinated. For their sake. For your sake. And for everyone else’s sake. It’s really, really time to return the respect that has been offered to you by offering not getting others needlessly sick and even killing them.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
More from Meredith on Babble:
- You’ll Never Guess Why a Court Has Approved One School’s Ban on American Flag T-Shirts
- SUDC: The Lesser-Known Cousin of SIDS About Which More Parents Desperately Need to Know
Follow Meredith on Twitter and check out her regular column on the op-ed page of The Denver Post at MeredithCarroll.com