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Why Does Anyone Care Whether or Not Other Peoples' Children Are Vaccinated?

Updated on October 29, 2016

Unvaccinated People Affect Those Around Them

A growing number of parents are choosing not to have their children vaccinated against diseases. Maybe they never heard about the tens of millions who died or were crippled by diseases now mostly extinct in developed countries due to vaccination programs. Maybe they are unaware that even well-fed and well-cared-for children can catch diseases. Maybe they are frightened of vaccinations because they don't understand how much the benefits of vaccinations outweigh the risks.

Whatever the reason, an increasing number of parents in developed countries are choosing to leave their children unprotected from diseases easily preventable by vaccines.

Some parents are choosing to put their children at a higher risk for illness, disability and death by withholding vaccinations--- but why do I care? I've been immunized and all of the children I personally know and love have been immunized, so why should I care if some parents choose to put their children at risk by skipping vaccinations?

Unvaccinated people put everyone at risk for diseases. Not just unvaccinated people, but everyone. Keep reading if you want to know how they put all human beings around them at risk.

image created by Andrzej Pobiedziski, SXC
image created by Andrzej Pobiedziski, SXC

Viruses Mutate

Have you ever noticed that flu shots are something that, when people get them, they tend to get the vaccination every year? That's because last year's flu vaccine doesn't really work for this year's flu viruses because those viruses have mutated. Given time and a whole bunch of reproduction, species mutate. Viruses have very short generations and multiply thousands and thousands of times in a single host.

Because few people die from or are crippled from the flu we've grown accustomed to, we don't work all that hard to eradicate it. The flu virus gets a chance to breed and mutate unchecked in millions of people so mutations are frequent. We fight these mutations in more deadly viruses by limiting a disease's chances to breed. Mass vaccination against current varieties of viruses works very well by closing off almost all of the possible places a disease can reproduce and potentially mutate.

When you decide to make your child into a breeding ground for deadly viruses you exponentially increase the chances of a mutation which will render the immunizations of all the people around him useless.

My eldest brother died in the sixties of a disease for which now there is a vaccine, Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib) Meningitis. During the same outbreak, my father’s teenage cousin contracted the disease, was rendered profoundly mentally retarded, and died in an institution shortly afterwards.

Deaths in the United States Per Year Prior to Routine Vaccinations

450 Measles

600 Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib) Meningitis

9,000 Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

6,100 Pneumococcal disease

2,100 Rubella (German Measles) (plus 11,250 miscarriages)

100 Varicella (Chickenpox)

15,520 Diphtheria

263 Tetanus (Lockjaw)

5,000 Hepatitis B (These are current numbers due to people who got it before vaccines and still have it, pre-vaccination death numbers are unknown, but quite likely higher.)

Prior to routine vaccinations these diseases caused 39,133 deaths per year in the US alone, mostly among children. Some of these diseases also caused deafness, blindness, seizures, or mental retardation much more frequently than death.

People fighting cancer, organ failure, and other serious illness that life has thrown at them can and do die when they catch one of these so-called childhood diseases. They aren't called childhood diseases because they are kid stuff to fight, but because they used to kill children by the thousands in single outbreaks and affected almost every single family on the planet.

Not Everyone Else Is Immunized yet or Still

While everyone should be immunized, not everyone can be immunized nor can everyone produce the necessary antibodies to make vaccinations effective.

Infants cannot be fully vaccinated at birth as their immune systems are not developed enough yet and some vaccinations require a multi-step vaccination process because the immunity has to build over time. Nor can unborn children be vaccinated.

Elderly people may experience immune system deficiencies which don’t allow them to produce antibodies as they once did, rendering their immunizations less effective. People with chronic illnesses also may have similar immune system issues. Recipients of organ transplants are put on immune system suppressants for the rest of their lives and are extremely vulnerable to viruses.

A decade or so ago, those people were protected by the lack of unvaccinated people in developed countries to serve as virus factories. With around 5% of children in developed countries now going unvaccinated it’s no longer the case. A vaccinated child can bring home disease organisms from his unvaccinated classmates and infect his younger siblings both born and unborn or infect his ill or elderly grandparents with viruses their immune systems can’t fight off.

My older sister is hearing impaired and completely deaf in one ear due to measles contracted when she was too young to be vaccinated. These things were extremely common experiences before vaccination was commonplace. Nearly every family was affected by childhood diseases in some terrible way. It is strange how many people have forgotten this.

Woman Discovers the Dangers of Failing to Vaccinate the Horrible, Hard Way

An Excellent Resource Addressing the Immunization Panic

The Panic Virus explains the rise of the anti-vaccination movement and its inherent dangers telling both sides of the story and illustrating the clear need for life-saving immunizations.

Learning about the science, the deadly history of childhood illnesses, and the advances in medicine should help people understand why shots are important for disease prevention.

The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy
The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy
Don't believe they work? Still think they cause autism? Give this book a try. I found this to be the most easy-to-understand, yet still pretty comprehensive of all the books I checked out of the library on this subject.

About Autism and Vaccinations

The single study connecting autism to vaccination was discredited due to unscientific methodology and reports written to fit a profit motive by preying on the parents of autistic children by offering unconventional and potentially dangerous treatment options created by Doctor Wakefield and associates. The very predatory intention and profit motive of the "study" should be enough to get people to question it.

Yes, more children are being diagnosed with autism. The percentage of children diagnosed with profound autism, however, has not significantly increased. Prior to immunizations, many more children became severely mentally retarded due to the effects of childhood diseases than are affected by profound autism now and the same percentage of children were still affected by it. As with any illness, having more severe effects on some and less severe effects on many more people, it's likely that many more children experienced mental retardation as a result of childhood diseases that was much less severe but still life-altering.

Even if vaccines caused autism, fewer children in America are being diagnosed with it each year than died each year due to childhood diseases.

Autism is obviously not something to casually dismiss. I know this intimately as I suffer with high-functioning autism and have had a very difficult life due to it even though it is considered the very mildest form of the condition. Even the high-functioning variety is no picnic. However, it is far preferable to be alive with my hearing, vision, and mobility intact than to be dead or severely mentally retarded. It's also better than having every family affected by death, blindness, deafness, mental retardation, or other disabilities caused by diseases preventable by vaccines.

There's no scientific evidence showing that vaccines cause autism and just as high a percentage of people had the profound version before immunizations became commonplace. I personally think, both due to numerous scientific studies presenting peer-reviewed scientific evidence and due to personal experience, that autism is inherited. I also think that just as many high-functioning autistic people existed prior to vaccinations, but that in a far less communication-dependent world, maybe they just weren't diagnosed. My father was one of them and he was just like me, without the label.

Even twenty years ago, one could get and keep a job without having high-level interpersonal communication skills and the ability to make people like you. All one used to need was a high level of proficiency performing a job and the ability to not seem like a complete jerk in an interview. Now high-level interpersonal skills are required in almost all jobs except for a few types of temporary manual labor positions. Once upon a time, even technical jobs didn't require skill at verbal dominance games, technical skill and job proficiency used to be much more important than the ability to please people in human resources departments.

If you don't believe diseases can kill children, I challenge you to look at your own family tree at least a few generations back. Compare the number of live births to the number of children who survived to adulthood and you'll have some vague idea of what living without vaccinations is like.

Since the reality is that people are refusing to get their children vaccinated and they don’t care who else they endanger or don’t even understand they are endangering others, what can we do as damage control? Since we can’t interfere with a parent’s power of life and death over their own children how can we prevent their choices from hurting others around them?

What Can We Do About Failure to Vaccinate?

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    • profile image

      jen09 writes 

      7 years ago

      I am still on the fence in terms of vaccines... Yes, prior to them many people died from the diseases, however, have you looked into the statistics of the unvaccinated children who have gotten mumps in the last 10 years and have not died? Medicine has changed and MANY of the diseases that used to kill can now be treated very easily. That being said, my kids are vaccinated, however we have refused a couple for minor diseases (such as one for chicken pox and another for roto-virus)

    • Kylyssa profile imageAUTHOR

      Kylyssa Shay 

      8 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @TeacherSerenia: So President Obama made a bad call on his childrens' vaccination program. What does that have to do with the fact that vaccines save lives? Any parent can make mistakes, even the Obamas.My sister is hearing impaired due to childhood measles as she was too young to have gotten her first series of measles vaccines on the program they followed in the sixties. My eldest brother died of HIB meningitis before a vaccination was available. Many children died of or were permanently damaged by now preventable illnesses. They were real people. Some of them are still alive and suffering, middle-aged adults living in adult foster care; my sister-in-law cares for several such people at her place of employment as do people in adult foster care situations around the world.I challenge you to look at your own family history, going back to the early twentieth century. Look at all the deaths recorded that are children less than ten years of age. There's usually at least one in every family. Childhood diseases affected virtually every family, even yours. If we as a country had not adopted vaccination practices, maybe you would not have survived to adulthood, maybe you would be mourning a child and surely someone you love would be. My brother was a beautiful seven-year-old boy, just as real and human as you and your children. Millions of children died or were crippled by the diseases you don't seem to believe exist. Millions of real children with families who loved them died. My family never recovered.It's too bad people don't remember history as recent as fifty years ago and all the deaths of children before vaccinations became routine. I wish I could have two older brothers instead of just the one and I wish my sister could hear. It saddens me that people have no appreciation of what was lost and no sympathy for the survivors.My doctor's children are all vaccinated and he gets flu and pneumonia vaccinations every year. The deaths that occurred before vaccines were real, whether you believe in them or not. When viruses mutate the vaccines are useless, just as I stated above. Look at the science. There's no big pharma conspiracy here; before vaccines children really died of the preventable illnesses vaccines can prevent.

    • TeacherSerenia profile image


      8 years ago

      This lens is scaremongering. Following the herd. THere have been 2 epidemics in the USA in 2012. Over 90% pf those children who fell ill, HAD BEEN Vaccinated against that disease. Thereby provign that vaccines don't work - and thye herd mentality also does not work. Its not he unvaccinated who pass the illness around. Its the vaccinated kids who do - because they get given a LIVE VIRUS injection - so of course they are contagious!!!Have you ever asked a doctor if they vaccinate their own families? Most of them will refuse to give these vaccinations full of lethal chemicals to their own kids and yet they will get paid big bucks to push these onto their patients. Even Obama chose not to vaccinate his daughters with the Flu vaccination. He claimed that his kids were not at risk so didn't need it. The only exemption allowed for the flu vaccine are those with EGG allergies and as far as is known - one of Oabama's daughters has astham and niether of them has any egg allergy. So asthma is NOT an exemption, therefore his daughters SHOULD have been vaccinated.

    • kerbev profile image

      Kerri Bee 

      8 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I'm with you on this one. Whooping cough is coming back! Tuberculosis took my grandfather and nearly my Dad too. There is a reason polio is isolated to three countries (Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan) and that is vaccines!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This issue actually makes me really angry. Not only is it ridiculous that families fairly well off can be so uneducated, but also those who have not been vaccinated, if they contract the virus, can become a platform for it to mutate, evolve and become a different virus to one that we have a vaccine for, possibly leading to an epidemic! How stupid and selfish.


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