There it was, a call no parent wants to receive, “your one-month-old daughter may have been exposed to a deadly contagious disease,” but it’s even worse when you know that such a disease can be prevented through vaccines. My daughter is too young to get vaccinated for the measles, which can only be done once she’s a year old. She’s on quarantine at our home for nearly a month, but that is unimportant compared to her sweet little life.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution testify to the fact that all are created equal and all are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Vaccines help secure the right to life of babies, children and adults. They protect against preventable, life-threatening and debilitating diseases. If we are to truly be dedicated to these principles, we must each choose to have our children vaccinated. Immunizations provide for the common defense and the general welfare of the people at the most fundamental level.
I understand that some are concerned with vaccines causing negative side effects, particularly autism. The fact is that there is no reliable scientific proof that vaccines cause autism, but there is an exceedingly great amount of evidence demonstrating that vaccines prevent deadly and disabling illnesses. Sure, there is no evidence that proves vaccines do not cause autism, because the cause of autism is unknown, but there’s also no evidence proving slurpees do not cause wrinkles. However, that doesn’t stop people from enjoying slurpees on a hot summer day. Despite the lack of scientific evidence linking vaccines to autism, some still argue that they would rather risk their child getting a disease than “risking” the child getting autism. This is like saying they would rather their child have the proven chance of death or another disability over the unproven chance of autism.
I admit, I do hold some skepticism regarding certain forces with economic and political power withholding or censuring information for their gain, but practically all major health organizations in the world declare that vaccinations are safe. Vaccines have saved millions if not hundreds of millions from death, and the same amount from life-altering disabilities. There’s a reason why the German word for polio is “kinderlähmung,” literally meaning “child-paralysis.” Vaccines prevent the seeing from going blind, the walking from becoming lame and the hearing from turning deaf. If you asked people in 1847 what they wished most that medicine could provide them, their response would likely describe prevention of the most horrendous contagious diseases, meaning they hope for vaccines.
There’s something that we as a society tend to forget, which is that just because an action or inaction is legal, that does not mean it is moral. The world has enough death and disability. I respect you if you do not believe in a Supreme Being, but I do, and I believe that Supreme Being gave us an intellect to improve the human condition, and a heart to do the same. Even if the law doesn’t make you vaccinate your children, I plead with you to do so anyway, because it can cause devastating harm to the most precious of us, our babies. And if that’s not enough, do it for your own child. Let’s allow and suffer the children to be healed; let’s not allow the children to suffer.
Bjorn Jones is considering running as an independent or a Republican to represent Utah’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He studies law through Mitchell Hamline School of Law, and is employed by University of Utah Healthcare. Bjorn, his wife and two children live in Sandy, Utah.