A recent mumps outbreak at Temple University in Philadelphia, which began in February now has over 100 confirmed cases according to the city’s health department. To combat this outbreak Temple has set up a free clinic where students can receive booster shots that will build immunity towards the virus. Mark Denys, the director of Student and Employee Health Services at Temple has said the university has given out over 2,000 boosters so far and are expected to keep the clinics open with hopes of stopping the spread of the virus.
In order to give yourself the best chance to stay healthy the receiving the MMR vaccine is the most effective way. This vaccine along with an immunity to measles provides protection against two other dangerous disease, measles and rubella. Normally people receive this two-part vaccine when they are young children, the first is administered within the first fifteen months while the second part is given before the age of six. The main problem with the MMR vaccine is that it provides excellent protection against both measles and rubella, but not the mumps. According to James Garrow, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Health in Philadelphia the effectiveness of the vaccine can decrease over time in a statement to NPR. This is a concern since mumps is extremely contagious and can be spread quickly due to the virus’s ability to travel through the air. Although the vaccine loses some of its effect as people turn the age of entering college the worst thing to do is to not vaccinate children to begin with.
The easiest way for these diseases to spread is through people who are unvaccinated and therefore have no immune response to these diseases. There have been some concerns shared about how vaccinating children may cause certain diseases or disorders and about the contents of these vaccines may be harmful in some ways. Specifically, the MMR vaccine was claimed to have mercury which is an extremely toxic chemical that cause chronic and acute poisoning in even low doses. Thankfully it has been proven by the FDA that the amount of mercury is comparable to a can of tuna fish and is completely safe for people. Also, the compound containing mercury in the MMR vaccine has been shown to be effective in clearing a broad spectrum of pathogens in low concentrations according to the FDA. Another claim for not vaccinating is the fear that these vaccines may cause autism based on a study by Andrew Wakefield published in the journal named The Lancet. Fortunately, this study is heavily flawed in that Wakefield has several ethical breaches including failure to disclose financial interests in patents for MMR alternatives, failure to include data which contradicted his conclusions, and the use of contaminated samples to support his claims. The UK.’s general Medical Council found Wakefield and his co-authors to have acted irresponsibly, dishonest, and not in the clinical interests of children involved in the study. The Council concluded their statement on Wakefield and his authors revoking his license to practice medicine in the UK completely nullifying any of his findings on the MMR vaccine.
Although these vaccines are extremely beneficial there are some instances in which children should not be vaccinated. Any confusion on when and if vaccines should be administered is on the CDC website where a comprehensive list of vaccines along with potential reasons that should cause people to hold off from getting vaccinated are located. Mainly the people who are unable to be vaccinated are too weak to receive many other boosters and are already extremely susceptible to many diseases. By having a large amount of the population vaccinated the rampant spread of these diseases significantly decreases which protects the people unable to receive vaccines.