Vaccines: Make the Right Choice (Tetanus Case)


Skeptical Raptor

Sara Sanguinetti, Staff Writer

One simple vaccine could have prevented a lot of heartache. A recently released medical report details how an unvaccinated child in Oregon caught tetanus and nearly died, and his hospital bill of nearly one million dollars. It makes you wonder whether it’s all worth it.

The boy was playing on his family’s farm in 2017 when he cut his head outside. While the wound was treated at home by his parents, he began to show signs of tetanus some days later. Due to the severity of the disease, the boy remained in intensive care for 35 days and stayed in the hospital for a total of 57 days. After being released, he went to a rehabilitation center to fully recover.

Tetanus, or lockjaw, is a deadly disease characterized by painful muscle spasms and extreme swings in heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. While difficult to treat, it’s also entirely preventable by being vaccinated.

The boy’s parents were aware of this, but even after their son’s horrible ordeal and their hospital bill of $811,929, they chose to still not have him vaccinated.

These parents aren’t the only ones refusing to vaccinate their kids. Many, called anti-vaxxers, are steering their kids away from vaccines due to religious reasons, fears of harmful side effects, and misinformation. This trend is on the rise, as diseases formerly wiped out from the U.S. have returned.

Skeptical Raptor

Many rightfully believe that this trend is a threat to people’s health and wellbeing, especially children. It’s common knowledge children aren’t the most sanitary, but now, instead of them being in danger of the common cold, they are in danger of a slew of once dormant diseases such as measles, chicken pox, tetanus, and many more.

There are laws in place all over the country enforcing the vaccination of children. However, certain states exempt people whose religious beliefs prevent them from being vaccinated, and people who “philosophically” disagree with them. Basically, if someone doesn’t want a vaccine, they don’t have to get one.

Many states are pushing to strengthen vaccine laws in the face of rising infection rates. A potential change in California’s vaccine laws may limit the number of unvaccinated kids. State lawmakers proposed a law that would give state public health officials instead of local doctors the power of deciding which kids can and cannot be vaccinated.

Tri-City Herald

Parents have stopped their kids from getting vaccinated with their best intentions in mind. But they are simply not the right ones. The World Health Organization, or WHO, has stated that the anti-vaxxer trend is a top global health threat amongst many deadly cases of preventable diseases that are on the rise.

“Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease,” said a representative for WHO. “It currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.”

While the anti-vax trend is becoming more mainstream, it’s good that many institutions and governments are taking action to tighten vaccine laws and educate people why vaccines are useful. Hopefully this trend dies out before more kids do.