Nickolas Hughes

Opinion Editor

Let me start by disclosing that I am autistic.

I have Asperger’s Syndrome, which is now considered to be high functioning autism. Also, I would like to disclose that I am a supporter of safe vaccinations.

They are necessary for the preservation of the welfare of this country. I understand that vaccines can be unsafe in certain circumstances. I profess to not knowing the science behind the arguments. These being whether vaccines cause autism or not. I would like to point out that many studies have disproven the link between the two. I would also like to point out that the anti-vaccine movement is gaining ground and we as a nation have to stop it.

Not being an expert in the science does not make my opinion any less valid, but, I have autism. I have lived my life with autism, and I understand that. I understand the fear, the anxiety, the paranoia, the panic, the depression, I understand it all far too well. I do not understand having measles but I am happy about this.

I checked Web MD about what measles is and I am scared of that. “Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus,” according to the CDC definition. “It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles starts with fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.” That terrifies me.

It is a deep fear that has taken residence in me and that fear extends to my future children. I do not want them to be sick, I do not want them to hurt or even die before their time. I do not want some unvaccinated child around my children.

Robert Kennedy Junior (RFK) and Robert De Niro are campaigning to try to convince other people that there could be a link. I the start to think about the future, and I have a problem with what they are doing. On February 16, 2016 they held a panel on vaccines. They brought up discredited research and floated it around like it was true.

The United States Center for Disease Control has stated, many times, “There is no link between autism and vaccines.” It frustrates me that RFK and De Niro are dedicating their time to something that has been disproven. They are following a form of pseudoscience. That is, it is not real.

What concerns me the most though is that a demographic of Americans believe what they are saying. According to the CDC there were 667 cases of the measles in the United States in 2014. A good majority of these were from outbreaks in the country. Such as in Ohio in the Amish community where a large part of the population do not get vaccinated. Those are scary numbers compared to the year before where there were only 187 in 2013 and 55 in 2012.

Another demographic is parents who do not get their children vaccinated for religious exemptions. That one frustrates me, but I understand that a person’s faith can be an impactful thing and I will not condemn that. The one that I cannot understand and condemn is the parents who say their reasons are philosophical and not based on religious practice.

It is selfish, in my eyes, to do that. Not vaccinating leads to the child in question getting sick. A lot sicker than any child should be today. Children around the unvaccinated child also are getting sick with these diseases.

It is irresponsible and poses a danger to every child in this country. Measles, as far as I knew, was gone. It did not exist because of the vaccinations administered to children. Then parents started to panic in the 1990s. Due to Jenny McCarthy’s involvement in promoting Andrew Wakefield’s research.

Andrew Wakefield was a doctor that claimed that he found a link. This study was disproven, but that did not stop various celebrities from forming a bandwagon. As a result of this, a panic set in and the anti-vaccination movement gained a lot of momentum.

The anti-vaccination movement is a dangerous movement. It is breeding thoughts that are not right. Vaccines are not dangerous and science has proven it. Robert De Niro is walking a dangerous path and so is RFK.