What are the numbers? | 22 Words

To live in a world where a shot can keep you healthy from certain sicknesses is quite an amazing thing. Nobody wants the chickenpox. Remember when you were little and they were going around your class? Personally, I've never had the chickenpox (knock on wood) but I remember hearing about oatmeal baths and itchy skin and I was terrified.

Although diseases preventable by vaccines are less common today than many years ago, they haven't disappeared. There are outbreaks of diseases that occur across the United States, which makes it important to stay up-to-date on vaccines. Plus, you never know when you may accidentally step on a rusty nail. Get your tetanus shot, people!

Vaccines are also a hot button issue. There are a lot of people who believe that vaccines do way more harm than good, and can cause autism. The anti-vaxxer movement continues to grow. But a recent study of over 650,000 kids shows that there's no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Vaccines are important.

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Without vaccines, we'd be susceptible to serious diseases.

There's a difference between a vaccine and a vaccination.

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Fun fact: vaccination means the act of getting a vaccine. The more you know! (Probably most of you already knew this...)

What exactly is a vaccine?

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While we've all heard of vaccines for our entire lives and know that babies get shots, it's important to know exactly what a vaccine is.

A vaccine is created from using small amounts of dead or weak germs that actually cause the disease.

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Getting a vaccine helps you fight the disease. It prepares your body.

So what's immunization?

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Immunization means you're protected and immune to a disease. It's rare for anyone in the United States to get polio, because of "continued and widespread immunization."

Although vaccines are proven to help us, there are people who don't believe in having children vaccinated.

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One of the arguments is that having a child vaccinated increases their chance of autism. But a recent study from Denmark has concluded that there is no link between vaccines and autism, as reported by Business Insider.

The study found there was no link between getting vaccinated for measles, rubella, and mumps (the MMR vaccine) and also developing autism.

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Even though medical circles continue to conclude that there is no link between autism and vaccines, concerned parents still refuse to vaccinate their children for fear of developing autism.

But the Denmark study is huge.

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The study involved over 650,000 Danish children, who were born from 1999 to 2010. You would think that a study of that volume would quell any fears from those who believe vaccines are bad, but still, people refuse to have their children vaccinated.

Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen researchers conducted the study.

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The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, an academic medical journal.

This isn't the first study that these Danish researchers have done on this topic.

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In 2002, some of the same scientists completed a study based on over 500,000 Danish children. So why do it all over again?

Because people still don't believe the conclusions.

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"The idea that vaccines cause autism is still going around. And the anti-vaxx movement, if anything, has perhaps only grown stronger over the last 15 years," Anders Hviid, one of the researchers, explained. "The trend that we're seeing is worrying."

It's very worrying.

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There are still outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. For example, there's approximately six measles outbreaks in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 206 individual cases of measles in January and February of this year. 

11 states have reported cases to the CDC.

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Those states include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

Measles outbreaks aren't just happening in the United States.

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They've also been reported in other countries. The virus was transported to Costa Rica by a French family who had unvaccinated kids. Within an Orthodox Jewish community in New York City, there was an outbreak caused by a contracted virus in Israel.

What are the numbers?

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The European Regional Office of World Health Organization reported that in 2018, there were 72 deaths in Europe from measles.

71 people were affected by a measles outbreak in Washington state.

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Business Insider reported that Washington state has spent over a million dollars trying to contain the outbreak. And it's still not enough.

John Wiesman, the State Health Secretary of Washington state, is asking for more funding.

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He's asking for a 22% funding increase for the CDC and a way for an informational campaign to spread the knowledge and importance of vaccines. Some of us may be comfy and cozy in our vaccinated bubble, but what's happening around the country and world is a very real issue.

Wiesman says that the anti-vaxxer movement has become extremely organized.

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"As the anti-vaccine movement has become so well organized, we are just really adequately prepared in getting out our message and to counter that," he said in a statement.

The Denmark study should comfort those who worry about anti-vaxxers.

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But here's an interesting issue, brought up by Emory University's Dr. Saad Omer: Though he didn't oppose the Denmark study since it used data that already existed, he noted that it's necessary to ponder the costs of a study, as well as the time needed. The issue of autism and vaccines has been explored. He wrote, "continuing to evaluate the MMR-autism hypothesis might come at the expense of not pursuing some of the more promising leads."

He also said that we're living in a "fact-resistant world."

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Data doesn't always convert nonbelievers to believers. There are still skeptics of vaccines, despite overwhelming evidence that vaccines do not cause autism.

It's an issue that has been around for over 20 years, after all.

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A controversial and since retracted 1998 paper claimed there was a direct connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. That's over two decades of the same discussion and worries.

According to the Denmark study, children who received the MMR vaccine were actually less likely to develop autism than children who weren't vaccinated.

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"Parents should not skip the vaccine out of fear for autism," Hviid stated, as reported by NBC News.

There's more danger in not vaccinating.

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"The dangers of not vaccinating includes a resurgence in measles which we are seeing signs of today in the form of outbreaks," Hviid further explained.

Since the report, Twitter has had a lot to say about it.

Some poked fun at anti-vaxxers with memes.

Truly, the memes were never-ending.

It's good to know this Mariah Carey reaction picture is applicable to the anti-vaxxer situation. Who knew?

Others pointed out that the study probably won't sway those who are against vaccines.

When it comes to anti-vaxxers, people are passionate. Anti-vaxxers seemingly don't want to hear the truth.

Most of the responses are just preaching to the choir.

Tons of responses pointed out the "DUH" factor in another study proving what many know to be true. And yet, there are still people who don't want to get their children vaccinated.

It causes a person to wonder...

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Will the anti-vaxxer movement ever stop? What will make people believe the scientific studies that have been conducted?

It doesn't seem like there's an ending in sight.

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And despite many studies concluding that there's no link to the development of autism and the MMR vaccination, the fight rages on.

It's a scientific and medical echo-chamber.

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When will it stop? Share this article with a friend.