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is the mmr vaccination safe?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Contents 2 Introduction 3-4 Number of cases per year in Finland 5 How do vaccinations work and give immunity 6 Scientific background 7 What is autism 8 Andrew Wakefield and his proposals 9 Argument for use of MMR vaccination 10-11 Argument against use of MMR vaccination 12 conclusion 13 bibliography 14 Introduction MMR basically stands for measles, mumps, and rubella and is a combined vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella and was introduced in 1988. It replaced giving three separate vaccinations for the three diseases and since this vaccine was developed, the number of children that have developed these conditions has fallen significantly. These diseases can lead to very serious problems such as encephalitis (swelling of brain which can lead to brain damage). I will be debating whether it is safe for children to be given the MMR vaccination and discuss how controversial this procedure has become and people have begun to wonder if it would be safer to give three separate vaccinations Measles Measles is a highly infectious viral illness caused by the rubeola virus and is best characterized by the rash that would occur in young children. However it can also infect adults as it is very contagious and can be spread from person to person very quickly and easily through 'droplet transmission from the nose, throat, and mouth of someone who is infected with the virus. These droplets are sprayed out when the infected person coughs or sneezes'. Symptoms of measles are fever, rash and feeling unwell for a few days for 7-10 days; however the time might be different for adults. In very serious cases, measles kills. In 1987 (the year before the MMR vaccine was introduced in the UK), 86,000 children caught measles and 16 died. (Kingston pct) Mumps Mumps is also very transmittable viral disease caused by the mumps virus and 'spreads from person to person through contact with respiratory secretions such as saliva from an infected person.' ...read more.

Middle

What is autism? Autism is an incurable disease that affects the brain and is a 'lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.' People with autism may have difficulty with social interaction and responding to new situations that they may be in. this would make meeting new people difficult. It is generally called ASD which means autistic spectrum disorder because while the people with autism may share similar difficulties, the way it affects them in their everyday lives. This would mean that some autistic people may be able to live a pretty normal life even with their difficulties; however others, as in the more serious cases of autism may require a lifetime of support from specialists. There are three difficulties which all autistic people have in common which are; 'difficulty with social communication, difficulty with social interaction and difficulty with social imagination'. 'Autism is much more common than most people think. There are over half a million people in the UK with autism - that's around 1 in 100 people.' The exact cause of autism is unknown. Andrew Wakefield and his proposal Many people believe that the MMR vaccination causes autism in young children due to the publication that was put up in 1998 by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. He was a 'gastroenterologist once associated with the Royal Free Hospital of London', (skepdic) 'reporting a study of twelve children who had autism spectrum disorders and bowel symptoms, in many cases with onset observed soon after administration of MMR vaccine.' (Yahoo answers). Even though this caused a big deal in the previous years, he had no legitimate evidence to prove this claim and eventually this claim was dispelled. The science behind his flawed theory was that he suggested that the immunisation by the MMR vaccine leads to the measles part of the vaccination 'becoming colonised in the lining of the bowel' (thpc.scot). ...read more.

Conclusion

Due to a vaccination containing the actual disease, the person would become infected with it. This is the reason some people may develop some of the symptoms associated with the disease and some side-effects. However, homeopathy uses a remedy that would produce effects similar to the disease such as the symptoms. This is why this alternative would not make the person a bad reaction to the vaccine. Conclusion By weighing up the arguments for the use and against the use of the MMR vaccination, I can see that the benefits of using the vaccine such as preventing an epidemic and immunising millions of children against the three diseases outweigh the risks associated with it such as the potential side-effects which in the rarest case may cause a severe allergic reaction. The people that may argue that the MMR vaccination is unsafe would base their arguments on the fact that a study was done which claimed that there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Since they would want to take precautions for their child's health and safety they would not want their child to have it. They think that there would be a risk when administering this vaccine, and because of a risk they would think of the precautionary principle and not let their child have it. However even with these negative feelings, the risks that the MMR vaccine may impose are relatively low and through the ALARA principle which is 'as low as reasonably achievable', it would mean that having the vaccination would be more beneficial for the general populous than not having it. From the information I have gathered above in the sections 'Arguments for use of MMR vaccination' and 'Arguments against use of MMR vaccination' I have deduced that the MMR vaccination is safe. I also think that it should be continued to be given to children not just in the UK, but all over the world in places such as Japan. This would make cases of Measles, Mumps and Rubella drastically reduced worldwide until these diseases would be finally eradicated like the disease smallpox. ...read more.

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