Will Hogan, Staff Writer

     Anti-vaxxers… well, they can be described as an interesting group. Anti-vaxxers don’t believe vaccines will keep them safe. Their mistrust ranges from a simple flu shot to the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinations teach your immune system to fight off viruses. Live vaccines contain a weaker dosage of the actual virus than if you were to contract the illness. This way, your body builds up immunity to the disease and knows how to fight it off. The anti-vaxxer ideas surged when the COVID vaccine was released, and despite months of testing and lots of scientific research, over fifteen percent of Americans are anti-vaxxers. 

     One reason someone may doubt vaccines is their religious background. Religion is someone’s core beliefs which means their opinions don’t change. This is especially true if they’re looking up to something and what they’re made to believe in. A study by the National Library of Education found that vaccination exceptions for religious reasons between 2000 and 2011 increased sharply.

     Another common reason that people refuse to get a vaccine is personal beliefs. Only a few states allow exceptions for this, but most don’t. One common idea is that vaccinations will actually cause sickness. While it is true that any vaccine could cause an inverse reaction, you will never contract the disease. Furthermore, some people believe that having multiple vaccines could overpower the immune system. Then, because your immune system is being overpowered, the sickness risk is greater. However, this is also untrue. Your immune system learns how to adapt to different diseases, so if you take the recommended amount of vaccines, your immunity will only go up.

     The final, most discreditable reason people refuse to get vaccines is their belief that they cause autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This could not be farther from the truth. From, it describes that autism is something you are born with. Eighty percent of autism derives from genetics, and the other 20 percent comes from prenatal conditions. However, no matter the cause of autism, it is not possible to develop autism over time. Therefore, getting vaccinated will not give you ASD.

      There are many reasons someone may not trust vaccines, but any of these could be countered with science. The only way we can continue to keep people healthy is through education. The National Library of Education found that one-third of people could not access additional knowledge of vaccines. Therefore, there are millions of people making ill-informed decisions and putting everyone’s safety at risk. The only way to combat this ignorance is with information so that we can keep everyone happy, healthy, and safe.