C of C student hosts panel to address the anti-vaccination movement

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The anti-vaccination movement is an anti-science movement that has generated a lot traction in recent years. The Students for Democratic Society will host a panel to address this issue Wednesday, Nov. 14, in the Education Center room 118 from 5-8 p.m. College of Charleston senior and president of the organization Jackson Hamilton will moderate and participate in the discussion. The panel will include several doctors from the Medical University of South Carolina. By hosting this panel, Hamilton hopes to address relevant issues within the anti-vax movement.

This anti-science movement has roots in an increased public distrust in large institutions such as the pharmaceutical industry. It has pushed many parents to refuse to vaccinate their children. These anti-vaxxers, as they are called, fear that vaccines will cause autism in their children. However, there is little scientific evidence to back up these claims.

Consequently, this has led to a rise in epidemics. In 2018, Europe experienced a measles outbreak, with over 41,000 people infected and 37 deaths. These numbers are appalling considering measles can be easily prevented with a vaccine. It is likely that we will continue to see epidemics like this, and it is wildly irresponsible for anti-vaxxer parents to put their children and other children, including those who are unable to get vaccinated or have autoimmune issues, at risk for illnesses that can be easily avoided with a vaccine.

Additionally, anti-vaxxers have further stigmatized autism through their claims by treating autism like a cancer. This has negatively impacted the autistic community. In an interview with Hamilton, he said, “An autistic person like myself or like many of the people that you or I know that are autistic live perfectly functional lives, are very intelligent, are very compassionate individuals, and there’s no reason we need to be cured.” Furthermore, society needs neurodiversity and people that think differently in order to generate advancements in fields such as science, medicine, and art.

Article by Lindsay Dragunoff