By Tahlia Terhune, Guest Columnist

With the recent outbreak of diseases ranging from measles to whooping cough, vaccinations have become a key topic in today’s news.

Across the country, doctors, celebrities and parents are taking a stance on how they feel about vaccinations.

According to NBC, a recent survey from the Pew Research Center found that 68 percent of Americans believe that children should be required to be vaccinated, while roughly 30 percent say that parents should be able to decide not to vaccinate their kids.

This debate seems to have no end in sight as pro-vaccination advocates and anti-vaccination supporters continue to argue. Lately, through national news and social media, critique on the belief of those opposing vaccinations has been more than harsh.

Name calling such as “dumb” and “stupid” have been dealt out to those who are exercising their free will. Experts spoke on behalf of the matter is NBC and pointed out that mocking a person’s individual belief will not persuade them to alter their ideas. It is, in fact, counter productive to the pro-vaccination movement.

“When you attack somebody’s values, they get defensive,” said Harvard Instructor David Ropeik, former Director of Communications for the Center for Risk Analysis. “It triggers an instinctive defensiveness that certainly doesn’t change the mind of the vaccine-hesitant person.”

While there is undeniable quantitative evidence that vaccinations have health benefits, points out some benefits of vaccinations that contributes to your quality of life and overall health. Immunizations can save a person’s life, vaccination is very safe and effective,
immunization protects others you care about, immunizations can save your family time and money, and immunizations protect future generations.

There are multiple reasons why people should be vaccinated; however, I do understand that they are skeptic, and I understand why a parent would believe they have the right to decide if their child receives vaccinations or not.

Ultimately, when you are electing to not vaccinate your child, it is not just a choice for your child.

“By choosing not to vaccinate a child, then in turn the choice is made to expose other kids to disease your child might be carrying,” said junior nursing student Elena Oelfke. “Vaccinations protect many lives from diseases that have been around for hundreds of years.”

Not vaccinating your child increases the potential for spreading diseases because the appropriate preventive measures are not taken.

“As a nursing student, I’ve come to realize that patient education is key,” Oelfke said. “I think every parent should be educated about what vaccinations are, what they do and why they are important before they begin to decide if they do or don’t want to vaccinate their children.”

One day, many of us will become parents. We will have to make an educated decision on whether to vaccinate our children or not. Whatever you may choose, think about the effects it may have.


Share your thoughts