When faced with vital choices between life and death parents often choose life, and death is always a last preference. Infants are susceptible to viruses, diseases, and infections. Vaccinations are crucial to the health of infants and are normally done periodically. However, due to the dispute between vaccination and autism as it’s possible result, parents are willing to compromise the life of infants with the thought of saving the child from autism. Unfortunately, despite several proofs of lack of medical and scientific connection between vaccination and autism, parents still stubbornly avoid the vaccination of their children. Will it be pleasant to see a child suffering from measles, mumps, rubella, or other vaccinated-related diseases that might cause death to a child? Would you rather see your child having breathing difficulties or a virus in his/her respiratory system? The respiratory system is an extremely essential part of the human body system that needs right care for the entire body to function properly.
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According to Miller and Reynolds (166-172), autism refers to a disorder in which the child has his/her own world and has trouble focusing on one thing. The symptoms of the disorder are evident at the age of three years. It is a disorder of “social impairments, communication difficulties, restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior” (Miller and Reynolds 166-172). A child that has autism is extremely moody: he can cry, laugh, get sad as well as show other emotions for no reason. Such children do not like to be cuddled, and they can be exceedingly restless or quiet. They also usually show a lack of expression and intonation in their speeches. A speech therapy is helpful to such children because it enables them to speak more clearly and better. Even though children with autism have incapabilities, they can be as healthy as normal children if given proper immunization and vaccination because autism is not a disease that endangers the life of children. Medically and scientifically, the cause of autism is unknown; however, the physical disorder has been found in the structure of the brain. What we all know, and what has been proven is that brain abnormalities can be due to genetic factors, exposure to toxins, serotonin deficiency, complications during pregnancy, or viral infections (Miller and Reynolds 166-167).
After looking at what autism is, we look at the causes, symptoms, and the potential risks of measles, mumps, and rubella diseases. Miller and Reynolds (166-167) noted that, measles is caused by rubeola and rubella viruses within the respiratory route; they are contagious and spread rapidly. Measles appear 10-14 days after the virus is already inside the respiratory system, which is terribly dangerous. The virus multiplies all the time. The early phase starts with a fever, cough, red eyes, runny nose, loss of appetite, and run-down feeling. Measles is deemed severe when the victims’ immune systems are weak and vulnerable. Deathly measles usually occur in infants, because infants have weaker immune systems than adults, and thus are more prone to pneumonia (the inflammatory condition of the lung). In some cases, measles can cause the brain to swell, which is extremely fatal. Three-year old children suffering from measles are at a high risk. I have witnessed my brother struggling and suffering from pneumonia; luckily he fought the disease and recovered from it. Additionally, my elder sister, due to the poor medical condition in Indonesia back in 1990, did not get MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination). As a result, she was later on diagnosed with pneumonia, at the age of 4. My parents told me that she was barely conscious; she had to be flown to Singapore for proper medical attention. The doctor said that if she was late by a couple of days, it could have been a tragedy.
Scientists found several things that might affect the way parents view this dispute between vaccination and autism. A study done in May 2009, found out that 65 percent of autistic children have a common set of mutations that regulate genes that influence the communication among brain cells. These genes are said to be caused by environmental exposures, thus have nothing to do with vaccination. Vaccination means that it is inside the body, and not due to outside surroundings. Hall (26-32), however, found out that Wakefield’s data was not scientific. He made his findings known during a press conference in 1998 stating that MMR vaccine caused autism. According to Hall (26-32), for Wakefield to be able to state that autism has something to do with MMR vaccination, he must make a comparison between the rate in which autistic and non-autistic children are linked to the intestinal inflammation, which Wakefield did not do. In addition, he used no controls. Hall confirmed that “Wakefield during 1993 was involved in questionable research” (27). He also discovered that mercury was found in all thimerosal; in all the vaccines. Hall also found that “in 1998, two mothers of autistic children published ‘research’ claiming that the symptoms of autism and mercury poisoning are identical; whereas according to the studies done by doctors and scientists, the description of mercury poisoning and autism are completely different” (29).
By research in the medical field, we should be able to draw our conclusion through these three cases that autism and vaccination has no links. If it’s not enough credibility from the medical field, then the legal field might convince parents to vaccinate their children. Silverman noted that there are “three special masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims issued carefully reasoned, strongly worded opinions rejecting claims that medical and scientific evidence could demonstrate causal links between thimerosal-containing vaccines or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination and the development of chronic health conditions” (2500). According to Silverman, the success of the childhood immunization program is jeopardized due to the fact that some states provide exemptions, in the attempt of balancing between pro vaccination and anti-vaccination, before enrolling in schools. Exemptions are given to whoever has solid reasons—religious beliefs, personal objections, broader philosophical objections, or parental autonomy (2501). The United States must face the fact that the consequence of the reduction of vaccination has resulted in increased outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, etc. The consequences are too high for children not to get vaccination; it can result in death (Silverman 250; Hall 27).
Silverman found out that “in VICP-related proceeding, the court has broad authority to seek out and consider information that might help it resolve questions about injury causation. Toward this end, the special masters informed their decisions by reviewing an extraordinary amount of scientific and medical evidence, including the testimony of 28 medical experts, 50 expert reports, and more than 5000 pages of proceedings transcripts and briefs that included more than 900 scientific articles” (2500). In conclusion to this, Special Master George Hastings in Fedilo v. Se’y of HHS stated that “This case…is not a close case. The overall weight of the evidence is overwhelmingly contrary to the petitioners’ causation theories…” (Silverman 2501). By law and medical researches we should now be able to conclude that there is no controversy between vaccination and autism from the beginning. The missing links of connection between autism and vaccination are never found because they don’t exist in the first place; they are only imaginary. If parents use their logic and the right approach in analyzing this “controversy,” they should let vaccination continue and focus on making their children as healthy as possible. Parents who are unsatisfied because of the unknown cause of autism should not focus on attacking vaccinations; they should focus more on in-depth research in autism. Fighting off vaccination and “killing” other infants is a cruel and inhumane act. Wouldn’t it be better for parents to try to prolong the kid’s life? This is a question that every parent ought to ask himself prior to deciding not to take their children for vaccination for fear of autism. Fatal diseases such as measles, mumps etc., which claim the lives of countless children every year, are preventable through vaccination; therefore it is up to parents to decide wether to save their children’s lives or not.
Self Analysis Paragraph
I am immensely glad about this research paper because it is based on facts and, therefore, I believe it will not only be informative, but also help change the minds of many parents who are reluctant to take their children for vaccination.
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