Vaccines: A Double-Edged Syringe

This is an excerpt from an article I published in 2018.The article discusses why people do and don’t trust vaccines and what we can do to reduce the barriers towards vaccination adoption. I’ve included this to demonstrate how I implement research and science in an article written for the lay audience.

In January, the World Health Organization listed the public and global health threats of 2019. Among them are threats you have heard of before: antimicrobial resistance, obesity, HIV and the flu.
But this year, for 2019, there’s a new challenger: vaccine hesitancy. It might not seem like a big deal to us where we’re required to turn in immunization forms for school, but according to the AJC, more than 200 schools in Georgia have low vaccination levels.
“Vaccinate your kids,” seems like a simple thing to say, but it is not so effective. Science has supported the use of vaccines for centuries, but we cannot just turn a blind eye to the fact that people will not always agree with science. There are many reasons people don’t get vaccinated that should be discussed.
Religious reasons
According to the Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the main reason parents don’t get their children vaccinated is because of religious reasons. Some vaccines use special ingredients that don’t necessarily align with the beliefs of a religious group. For instance, gelatin is used in many medical products, including vaccines, according to the Croatian Medical Journal. The article also states that gelatin is derived from pig flesh, which is considered haram (forbidden) in the Islamic culture. In the same vein, it’s no secret that there is controversy surrounding how some vaccines are created. According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Immunize.org, the vaccines for rubella, measles, smallpox, hepatitis A, chickenpox and even polio use a line of cells that come from aborted fetus tissue. I am sure you can understand why that might hit a nerve in some denominations of faith.
Although there are risks to vaccinations, we also cannot forget the invaluable impact that vaccines have made in society.
Vaccines save lives
So many diseases in the past that have claimed the lives of many people (polio, smallpox, mumps, rubella) have been nearly or entirely eradicated thanks to vaccines. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends vaccinations. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza. Vaccinations have made a huge impact on our quality of life and have helped us discover that many lethal diseases are in fact preventable with a prick. Wellbeing of others
Have you heard of herd immunity? Herd immunity is when people with weaker immune systems, such as the elderly or newborns, are still protected from certain diseases because most of the people around them have been vaccinated.