Vaccine Hesitancy Gives Us Life Anxiety

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A vaccine is simply a substance used to help prevent disease and sickness; although occasionally ineffective, vaccines have saved millions of lives since their invention. Vaccines serve one primary purpose: to help one avoid disease. Despite the well-known effectiveness and safety of vaccines, there are those that contradict the idea of vaccination and thus stand as a backwards step in regards to the progression humanity has made in terms of health and medicine. 

Vaccine hesitancy can be understood as a product of irrational and ignorant fear; those who refuse the life-saving potential of vaccines simply believe that vaccination is the greater of two evils, with gruesome, contagious death being the alternative. 

According to PublicHealth, one of the biggest causes of the modern vaccine hesitancy was the publication of now discredited research by British surgeon Andrew Wakefield. His paper claimed that the use of vaccines was a cause of autism in children. Even though several follow up studies by other researchers showed that vaccines have no link to autism in children, Wakefield’s ideas spread like wildfire; anxieties had spread widely, destroying a positive reputation that vaccines had initially presented. People who continue to spread these false ideas through Facebook groups or other mediums endanger the lives of children as they keep them from potentially life saving vaccines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019, citing the reversal of progress made eradicating preventable diseases. Although countries such as the United States may be able to weather small outbreaks of  diseases such as measles, infected Americans who cast aside the notion of vaccines ruin the efforts being made by developing nations to eradicate such diseases. According to Oxford, the definition of herd immunity is the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population; this term is fitting if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals within a population are immune to the disease. Vaccination is capable of protecting several populations from disease, however, its effectiveness is threatened by vaccination hesitancy.

Vaccine hesitancy poses a great threat to the health and progression of modern society by endangering the well being of individuals responsible and those around them. The reality of the effectiveness and safety vaccines must be accepted by all, so that the health of the populace is preserved.