Feb 11, 2015
Over the years measles, a highly contagious respiratory disease that spreads through the air by coughing and sneezing, had nearly been eradicated within the United States. From 1956 to 1960, an average of 450 measles related deaths were reported each year, compared with an average of 5300 measles-related deaths during 1912–1916. Although vaccines such as the Measles Vaccine have been proven lifesavers, many parents are beginning to believe many myths that have surfaced over the years. The most prominent being a discredited study linking the vaccine to autism. While vaccines are not without risk the benefits far outweigh the risk. It is very rare for a child to have an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
Now what this article does great is state what is the common misconception and then explain why its not the case. The big myth that I am sure everyone has heard by now is that vaccines cause Autism. Well this surfaced due to a study that was published in The Lancet, a british medical journal, here Dr. Andrew Wakefield linked Autism and childhood vaccines. The paper panicked many parents even though fellow researchers criticized Wakefield. Fast forward to 2004 and most of the co-authors withdrew their names from the study after learning that Wakefield had been paid by a law firm that intended to sue vaccine manufacturers. Within the same year the Institute of Medicine reviewed evidence from Denmark, Sweden, the UK, and the US and found no connection between the vaccine and Autism. About 6 years later in 2010, another British medical journal concluded Wakefield misrepresented or altered the medical history of the 12 patients whose cases formed the basis of his study. The Lancet retracted Wakefield’s study in 2010. He then lost his medical licence. Even though this study has been discredited the damage has already been done. The chief science officer with Autism speaks has issued a statement urging parents to vaccinate their children.
Another fear the article points out is that the vaccines contain poison. This fear is based on Thimerosal which contains a low concentration of a mercury compound. Thimerosal is used to prevent dangerous bacteria and fungus from growing in the vaccines. In 2001 the FDA stopped issuing licenses for children’s vaccines that contained Thimerosal. However It is still used in some Flu vaccines. The reason for this is that since flu vaccines are giving out in large quantities it is common to get multi dose containers of the vaccine. Thimerosal is necessary for the multi dose containers. As for autism, since Thimerosal was removed from children’s vaccines, the percentage of diagnosed autism cases continue to rise.
There is also a fear that we are pumping our children with far too many antigens. Antigens are what cause our body to build up a resistance. The idea is that it is too much for children to handle. Dr. Gupta states that although there are more vaccines, patients are inoculated with far fewer antigens today than 30 years ago. People received about 3,000 antigens, compared to 150 today. Dr, Gupta also points out that spreading out a childs vaccine schedule for fear our getting too high of a cumulative dose, only leave the child more exposed and vulnerable to disease and as for autism, autism diagnoses continued to rise as the antigens were being reduced in vaccines.
The last dangerous idea that Brumfield attacks is that the diseases are extinct and that it is better to avoid vaccines because children don’t need them. That the diseases they prevent are long gone and if they do catch one it will simply run its course. Measles is not harmless. it can lead to other complications such as pneumonia, brain damage, deafness, and even death. The World Health Organization states that Globally, its still a major killer of children. The Center for Disease Control also states that between 2001 and 2013, 28% of children under 5 years old had to be hospitalized.
Ben Brumfield, the author of this article, does a lot here to give his claims the backbone it needs to stand on it’s own. Through out the text he supplies many links to other articles documenting the events that he discussed. Which is more than can be said by many of articles by the opposing Anti-vaccine movement. Ben Brumfield also enlist the medical advice of Dr. Sanjay Gupta who is a practicing Neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent at CNN. A video of an interview between Dr.Gupta and Anderson Cooper is included at the top of the article. The articles that are promoted along the sides of the page are related to the source material of the article. Articles such as “8 Questions to ask before a play date” and “Measles outbreak: How bad can it be?” Brumfield’s use of ethos is strong in creating a credible source and using speakers from medical authorities. His use of logos is strong in using logic and facts to support his claims. He saves his pathos for the end or the article where he used vivid language to describe how the illness is not harmful and how it is still a major killer of children today, and reminds the reader that the measles vaccine has reduced the rate of infection within the US population by 99% since when there was no vaccine available.
Brumfield, Ben, and Nadia Kounang. “5 Myths Surrounding Vaccines — and the Reality.”Www.CNN.com. CNN, 6 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2015. <http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/04/us/5-vaccine-myths/>.