The Importance of Vaccinations

Elie Yates, Staff

Colorado’s law requires all students to be vaccinated before going to school, but there are still kids going to school unvaccinated. Because vaccines protect you from many deadly diseases, they work very well, and they protect others around you. All kids should be vaccinated.    

Vaccines are a common part of your doctor’s appointment today. You probably got a few when you turned 11 and 12. Maybe your parents take you in once a year for a flu shot too, but vaccines are much more than just a needle. They protect you from many horrible diseases, including chicken pox, measles, polio, hepatitis B, and many more. Most of the shots for these diseases you probably don’t remember, kids get their vaccinations as early as 2 years old. Technically, all kids should be vaccinated before going to any sort of school or daycare, but there is a movement among parents to stop vaccinating. Some kids get opted out for medical reasons, are too young, or their parents don’t believe in shots. In a survey done by the CDC, it was discovered that only 86.4% of kindergarteners were vaccinated in the 2018-2019 school year. This rate should be up to 100%.

Vaccines are so important to our society today because they protect us from many diseases that used to be big problems. According to the World Health Organization, vaccines prevent 2-3 million deaths each year. This is because of the many advances in science that helped create vaccines like the polio vaccine. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia says that since 1979, polio has been eliminated in the Western Hemisphere due to the vaccine. 

Some parents also worry that vaccines will harm their kids, although they are safe to use. Before a vaccine is given to anyone, it goes through vigorous testing to make sure it won’t cause any problems. Imagine having a horrible disease versus the quick pain of a shot. According to the CDC, only 1 in every million people will have an allergic reaction to a vaccine. The World Health Organization says that 85% to 95% of vaccines are effective, which means your very unlikely to get sick after receiving a vaccine. 

Getting your vaccinations can also help protect others around you. Some people can’t get shots for medical reasons or are too young. If you’re unvaccinated and contract a disease, it is much easier to spread it to other unvaccinated people and cause an outbreak. Vaccine preventable diseases are also much easier to spread among kids because we spend so much time close together in school, clubs, and sports. 

Some people hesitate to give their kids shots because there are beliefs that shots are linked to autism. As many as nine studies have been done on the topic and none have found any link between the two. One study was done in 1998 but was retracted because the information was found to be false. In one certain test done by the CDC, the study looked at the number of antigens (substances in vaccines that cause the body’s immune system to produce disease-fighting antibodies) from vaccines during the first two years of life. The results showed that the total amount of antigens from vaccines received was the same between children with ASD and those that did not have ASD. Some specific ingredients such as thimerosal have been studied but still no link was found. 

After looking at the overwhelming evidence supporting vaccine usage, you have to agree it’s the best thing to do for you and the others around you. All kids should be vaccinated because they need to protect themselves from so many horrible diseases that still exist in our world today.