Severe (MMR) Vaccine: A Case Study

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As her 12-year-old son began to show the telltale signs of chickenpox, Bev Connelly had figured that a few days of rest would be just what Josh needed to recover. As a healthy, active young boy in middle school, Josh seemed capable of combating the infection that almost everyone experiences during childhood. It wasn’t until the night of April 13, 1996, when Josh’s symptoms became more severe, that Bev realized that this commonly contracted virus could change her life forever. Josh’s fever became increasingly high, so he was rushed to the hospital, where the doctor warned them that pneumonia was a possible complication of chickenpox. Josh showed no signs of pneumonia and was sent home; a few hours later he was dead. As Bev reflected on the …show more content…
Another common misconception driving this decrease in immunization rates is that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is linked to autism in children. According to healthychildren.org, “Extensive reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conclude there is no evidence that MMR vaccine causes autism” (“Weighing the Risks and Benefits”). Many people seem to associate the MMR vaccine with autism due to the time it is administered. Autism is first recognized in toddlers between 18 and 30 months of age and MMR is given within that time frame, which leads people to believe there is a relationship there. Although it has been proven that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism, these fears have led to a decrease in vaccinations within the United States leading to an increase in measles out-break cases (“Weighing the Risks and Benefits”). According to a study that consisted of interviewing parents that opt out of childhood vaccination mandates, the participants were generally aware of the supposed link between MMR vaccine and autism, however, they were unaware of the studies that followed disproving that finding (J. Guillion, Henry, & G. …show more content…
When a parent decides to forgo vaccinating their child, not only do they put their child at risk, they put children who cannot be immunized at risk. Children that are unable to receive vaccinations rely on the people that are healthy and able to receive them for their protection. Herd immunity is the percentage of people that need to be vaccinated in order to protect the community. Due to the community meeting the herd immunity threshold for polio in 2005, only four unvaccinated children contracted polio after an 18 month-old Amish girl contacted and spread the disease. However, in 2012, there was a huge pertussis outbreak affecting 42,000 people in the United States because in 2011, 49 states did not meet the 92-94% herd immunity threshold for pertussis (“Vaccines”). When a population has a high level of herd immunity, individuals may decide to not vaccinate their children to avoid the small risk of adverse events associated with vaccines while benefitting from the vaccination of others. As previously mentioned, this has become a major part of the problem. If a sufficient number of individuals make this decision, the protection levels in the community decline, the herd immunity effect is lost, and the risk of transmission increases (Malone &

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