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LETTER: Individual vs. universal

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Recently, the anti-vaccination movement has gained a lot of popularity and criticism. It seems an increasing number of people choose to consult forums and online medical quizzes, rather than specialized medical workers or doctors, leaving them prone to erroneous information that could harm not only themselves, but their entire community.

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“My child, my choice”. Unarguably, parents should have total freedom and authority on the way they wish to raise their children, however, that statement is invalid if they are putting their and other children in danger. The term “herd immunity” refers to the capability of vaccines to protect the most vulnerable ones — including children, sick and elderly people — from dangerous but preventable diseases.

There are many arguments against vaccination, that it causes autism, can trigger bad allergic reactions, or that it contains toxic ingredients. Despite the absence of scientific proof that vaccines could cause any major harm, many are still skeptical to pick this option, which leads me to this question: “are these doubtful reasons worthy of risking losing your child and many others to fatal diseases such as measles or polio?”

It is estimated by the World Health Organization that the measles vaccines prevented 20.4 million deaths from 2000-2016, and 1.5 million children deaths by the polio vaccine.

If you have doubts about a medical issue, consult a doctor; and if you don’t trust the first one, get a second opinion, as there are many of them out there. Vaccinate your children and pass on the message.

Safidy Rakotomalala,

UPEI student

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