On April 29, Salisbury University students received an email from Student Health Services, warning students that the CDC has confirmed four cases of measles in Maryland. Until recently, the word “measles” did not raise much concern, because it was considered mostly abolished due to vaccines against it.
While none of these cases have occurred in the Salisbury area, it still raised concerns for students about both the measles and the increasingly popular anti-vaccination movement that is occurring in our society.
Sophomore Caitlyn Peerman has heard a lot about the anti-vaccination movement from online sources and social media.
“People are believing that they shouldn’t vaccinate their kids, and it is causing outbreaks of measles and other viruses that are completely preventable,” Peerman said.
The anti-vaccination movement has become more popular for a variety of reasons. Some believe that vaccinations go against their religion. Others believe that vaccinations cause autism in children, despite scientific evidence proving that they don’t.
Some SU students, like freshman Aaron Steigler, believe that vaccinations are more beneficial than harmful, and it is the spread of false information that is fueling the anti-vaccination movement.
“I believe it stems from a fear of children becoming autistic from the vaccinations. I know that it has very little to no scientific support, and I just think that it is an issue that people care about out of ignorance,” Steigler said.
The United States currently has laws in place that require children to be vaccinated in order to attend school.
However, many states make exemptions for a variety of reasons, including for religious and medical reasons. Many SU students believe that it should be mandatory for all US citizens to be vaccinated.
“I believe that vaccines should be mandatory across the United States due to people traveling and whatnot to different countries and the chances of cross-contaminating disease,” sophomore Cori Nichols stated.
Currently, Salisbury students are required to have a few different immunizations in order to attend the school. These include meningitis; tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or TDAP; and the MMR, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.
While students at Salisbury University do not seem to be in danger of contracting measles or other preventable diseases, due to the vaccinations that are required, the movement still affects students in a variety of ways.
Some students going into certain occupations, such as nursing or teaching, may have to deal with the repercussions of the movement.
One such student who feels that the anti-vaccination movement may affect her career is SU senior Sydney Lint.
“My opinion is that everyone should be vaccinated,” Lint said. “I’m going to be an elementary school teacher, so I feel like with kids in schools, it can be dangerous.”
There are certainly a few valid reasons to not receive a vaccination, such as a medical allergy. But vaccinations should be required for all U.S. citizens in order to keep everyone healthy and safe.
The measles vaccination was developed in 1971 and worked to prevent this dangerous disease from spreading since then. However, this year, there have been 764 cases of measles confirmed in the US, according to the CDC. This is a drastic difference from 2010, when there were only 63 cases.
In order to prevent the number of measles cases and other preventable diseases from continuing to increase, society must work to highlight how the benefits of a vaccination outweigh the risk.
By LAURA AMRHEIN
Featured photo: Clinical Advisory image.