5 Vaccine Truths Latino Mom and Dads Need to Know

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This week, the CDC announced 555 confirmed measles cases so far this year in the U.S. — a 50% increase from last year’s total numbers.

This is a result of anti-vaccination, or more commonly anti-vax, sentiments, which have been on the rise amongst American parents — despite bodies of research that dispute the claims made by anti-vax views.

The facts surrounding vaccinations have been muddied because of online misinformation campaigns.

In a case where two sides are at odds, it is best to ask a few questions:

  • What are the facts?
  • Who is presenting the information?
  • Are those facts and presenters trustworthy?

So, here are the key questions, and truths, concerning vaccinations.

1. Where Do Vaccinations Originate?

In 18th Century Europe, smallpox killed roughly 400,00 people every year.

The disease would ravage through villages, leaving few survivors. The fatality rate among adults ranged between 20-60% — among infants it could be as high as 98%.Vaccine safety

The disease was eventually nearly eradicated through vaccinations.

Benjamin Jesty originally developed the medical practice in the late 1700s and then was made a widespread practice by Edward Jenner later.

Jesty “was intelligent, prosperous, and a pillar of the local community,” who reportedly is the first person to realize the connection between immunity and exposure to small doses of disease.

His, and later Jenner’s, research and testing would eventually result in a medical revolution and the wide-spread reduction of diseases through vaccination.

2. Are Vaccines Safe?

Medical professionals across the board agree — yes.

Vaccine Safety
Infographic via CDC

Researchers and doctors are confident in that the safety of vaccines because of long-term test results and close monitoring by responsible parties.

Before doctors can administer them to the public, vaccines must:

  • Be thoroughly tested in the lab
  • Be tested on hundreds to thousands of human volunteers
  • Get tested again if any new ingredients are added to vaccines
  • Pass additional testing if multiple vaccines are meant to be administered together
  • Be tested, batch by batch, to ensure standards

Once they are made available to the public, the government requires that doctors and patients report any unexpected side effects. These agencies also monitor health data of vaccine recipients and provide experts to assist in promoting knowledge, safety.

3. Are Diseases Vaccines Prevent Dangerous?

Measles is on the rise — in America and around the world.

Concerning their domestic escalation, major cases have spread due to unvaccinated individuals who interact with large groups, spreading the disease like wildfire. Recent outbreaks have occurred in:

  • Rockland County, New York (18% Latino)
  • New York City (29.1%)
  • Washington state (12.7%)
  • New Jersey (20.4%)
  • Butte County, California (16.4%)
  • Michigan (5.1%)

Occurrences like these are entirely preventable through vaccinations, preventing sickness and death.

Vaccine safety

“The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated,” the CDC writes. “Measles can spread when it reaches a community in the U.S. where groups of people are unvaccinated.”

Globally, this disease is on the rise as well. Some places, such as Europe, are experiencing anti-vax movements as well. Others are facing increases due to a lack of vaccinations.

Other hazardous diseases vaccinations can protect against include: hepatitis B, meningitis, mumps, tuberculosis, and yellow fever. Cancer researchers across the nation have expressed support for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations to prevent deadly cervical cancer, which disproportionately afflicts Latinas.

Vaccines are currently available for 26 diseases, with more in the pipeline, according to the World Health Organization.

4. How Can I Trust Vaccines?

A collaborative statement by the heads of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine speaks to the value vaccines hold in society.

“The current measles outbreaks in the United States and elsewhere are being fueled by misinformation about the safety of vaccines,” the group states. “The evidence base includes a number of our studies examining vaccine access, safety, scheduling, and possible side effects. Our work has validated that the science is clear – vaccines are extremely safe.”

That collaboration is not the only group speaking up. Medical professionals and legislators across the country are grappling with the vaccine hesitancy epidemic.

5. If There Is a Problem, What is Being Done About It?

Vaccine safety
Infographic via CDC

American government officials are taking steps to ensure vaccination safety.

New York City lawmakers began requiring vaccinations due to a measles outbreak in Brooklyn. State legislators proposed a bill last month that would allow teenagers the ability to receive vaccinations without parental, guardian approval.

Technology companies and retailers are also taking action to reduce the spread of vaccine misinformation. Amazon recently announced the removal of books that contain falsehoods concerning vaccines and autism from their catalog.  Facebook, too, is taking steps to diminish dishonesty found through their platform.

To Vax, or Not to Vax: The Final Conclusion

Let’s ask our big questions about vaccines again.

  • What are the facts?

Countless lives are saved because of vaccines, they are rigorously tested and monitored, and they are safe.

  • Who is presenting the information?

Individuals who deem vaccines as safe are medical professionals with doctoral degrees. Those who spread misinformation that demonizes vaccines do so without credibility, facts, or meticulous research to uphold their views.

  • Are those facts and presenters trustworthy?

Doctors and researchers have years of education, long-standing experience, and thorough research that support their claims. It’s impossible to claim that all these medical professionals, some who have taken the Hippocratic oath, are lying en masse for no apparent reason. The so-called “anti-vax” movement originates from the internet.Vaccine safety

The tried and tested facts point to one conclusion:  vaccines are needed and trustworthy. The safety of Latino children is at risk when parents refuse to vaccinate.

Despite pushback from various groups, individuals from all backgrounds are speaking up about this health crisis. Rev. Barry Williams, an interim pastor at Jefferson City, Missouri’s First Presbyterian Church, has worked in vaccination advocacy.

He said one potentially overlooked detail in graveyards supports the need for vaccinations.

“When you go into an older cemetery, you’ll see a lot of children’s gravestones from very young ages,” Williams told KRCG13. “More modern cemeteries have far fewer children in them, and the biggest reason for that is the vaccinations.”

Read about actual dangerous substances found in the products being sold across the country.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a collaboration between Salud America! and the Hoffman Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) program at UT Health- San Antonio. To find out if you are TILTed due to exposure to everyday foods, chemicals, or drugs, take a self-assessment or learn more about TILT.

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