At the Congressional committee hearing on Monday, Senator Elizabeth Warren discussed the health risks of vaccines. She asked the most notable immunization expert of the Center for Disease Control about the safety of vaccines numerous different times in numerous different ways. By asking these questions, Warren shut down many vaccination conspiracies.
Warren asked if there is evidence of vaccines causing disorders like autism. The immunization expert answered, no. She asked if scientific evidence proving that vaccines cause allergies and other autoimmune diseases in young children who receive them exists. The immunization expert responded, no. The senator asks other questions similar to these, and all receive the answer no.
The immunization expert, Dr. Anne Schuchat, ended the series of questions saying that vaccinations are completely safe. The committee hearing was pre-scheduled for months, however it came in the middle of the countries largest measles outbreak in years. Fifteen years ago, the vaccine eradicated the disease, until now. With the recent measles outbreak, Warren was able to shut down vaccination conspiracy theories more so than before.
The highest number of measles cases is in California, where more and more people have chosen not to vaccinate. Conservatives are struggling with their own personal views towards vaccination and their belief that parents should have the choice of vaccinating their kids. Officials want to stop the spread of the disease but also understand the rights a parent has over its child. These senators also believe in the idea of “herd mentality.” Immunizing the entire population would greatly reduce cases to the extent that it would be beneficial despite some individual cases of children with side effects, says Director Kelly Moore from the Tennessee Department of Health Immunization Program.
Senator Rand Paul has released a statement saying he has seen vaccines have very harmful effects on young children. Where Tennessee Republican, Senator Lamar Alexander, thinks any parental exemption to vaccinate their kids creates a health risk for the nation.
It has also been considered that immigrants are bringing this diseases into the country however, this was quickly shut down when officials confirmed all immigrants mandatorily receive vaccinations. It is the communities with different philosophical beliefs that are creating the measles problem. The measles problem has been analytically proven to be the cause of parental choice, rather than immigration or insufficient healthcare.
Warren also asked the immunization expert if spacing out vaccinations in young children would reduce risks of side effects. The expert answered no; that spacing out the vaccinations would instead increase their risk. She also noted that changing lifestyle habits has not been scientifically proven to boost the immune system.
Warren referenced a recent finding from Pew Foundation Center that said people over thirty are more likely to vaccinate because they lived through some of these deadly diseases, where as people under thirty are less likely because they did not. More and more parents who have kids with compromised immune systems are scared of the more recent tendency for other parents to exempt their kids from vaccines. Where more and more parents with the newer philosophical anti-vaccination beliefs are worried the impact this new measles outbreak may have on the politics surrounding vaccines.
Written by Audrey Madden
Photo by – Gates Foundation – Creative Commons Lisence