Vaccinations saves lives


The individual with measles who travelled to Inuvik and sparked a regional scare turned out to be a child who did not have the proper immunizations. The child’s identity and age has been concealed, but what we do know is that hundreds of people have been potentially exposed to measles as a result.

The obvious solution to prevent measles and other infectious diseases from spreading is to get vaccinated. But for some reason, a global skepticism around vaccinations exists, particularly for those who believe that vaccinations cause autism in children.

However, results released this week from a new study led by Anders Hviid and his team in Denmark debunks the autism claims. Researchers looked at 657,461 children born in Denmark from 1999 to 2010.  More than 95 per cent of the children received the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and only 6,517 had been diagnosed with autism. That’s less than one per cent of the total population of the study group.

The study strongly supports that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination,” they write in their conclusion.

Aaron Hemens is the editor of the Inuvik Drum.
Aaron Hemens is the editor of the Inuvik Drum.

Last April, Canada’s Public Health Agency released an info-graphic that proves the effectiveness of vaccines. During the pre-MMR vaccine era that they defined as 1950 to 1954, they found that there were an average of 53,584 cases for measles, 36,101 cases for mumps and 14,974 cases for rubella.

But those numbers took a significant dip as vaccinations were introduced to the public. From 2011 to 2015, there were only 292 cases of measles, 103 cases for mumps and only one case of rubella. That’s a 99 per cent decrease for all three diseases, all thanks to vaccinations.

The numbers and results speak volumes: vaccines work and they do save lives. It’s time that people start paying attention and listening to health experts and studies around vaccinations. More importantly, people need to do their research instead of buying into bogus theories floating around on the internet that are not grounded in concrete research.

Refusing to immunize your child due to your own anxieties around dubious conspiracy theories is selfish and irresponsible parenting. Not only are you endangering your child’s life, but you’re also risking the health of others that come in contact with them.

If you haven’t already done so, go and get immunized. The last thing the public needs is another health scare over an issue that could have been prevented.

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Aaron Hemens has been working as the editor of the Inuvik Drum since January 2019. He's responsible for reporting on everything Inuvik, from covering community gatherings and sporting events, to writing the weekly columns. He's a dedicated photographer who loves getting to know the town through the community members that he meets. He's originally from Ottawa, Ont., where he graduated from Carleton University's journalism program in 2018. He can be contacted at 867-777-4545 or at You can check out his photos on his Instagram account: @aaron.hemens.


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