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By Miranda Motsinger STAFF WRITER How many people die of common, seasonal flu each year? A hundred? A thousand? Try anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000. It is a shocking statistic, to be sure, and it doesn’t even take into account other diseases like tuberculosis, polio, and measles. What do all these potentially deadly diseases have in common? They can all be prevented 85-95 percent of the time—and mitigated the other 5-15 percent—with just one needle. According to cdc.gov, the single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. Hygiene is essential, certainly, but nothing protects as easily and effectively as a simple shot. Why then, do people decry these lifesaving vaccinations with completely unfounded accusations that they cause more harm than good? One of the most persistent urban rumors surrounding vaccinations is a certain chemical in these shots can

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sometimes cause brain damage to children, leading to the development of autism. However, such rumors have had a hard time getting backing from studies. Scientists have conducted nearly 20 studies in recent years investigating the supposed link between autism and vaccines, all of which have failed to show any relationship between the two. In fact, most vaccines—thanks to the public outcry— don’t even use the chemical in question: thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative. The cause of the spike of autism cases in the United States remains unexplained, but it most certainly is time to stop blaming vaccinations and start finding valuable evidence elsewhere. Of course, rejecting vaccines on the basis that they are “unnaturally” interfering with the immune system fails to make the least bit of sense. One could well reject everything in society as unnatural, from medicine to air conditioning to Doritos. People who claim the body knows best and doctors should just butt out would do well to contemplate the

average life span in prehistoric times before doctors. (Hint: it’s low.) Besides, vaccinations are not even unnatural to begin with. Vaccinations work by introducing a dormant form of the disease to the recipient’s system; this causes the body to produce antibodies specifically for the disease, which hang around in the recipient’s bloodstream for when the real thing shows up. In other words, vaccines use exactly the same process your body uses on its own for fighting unwelcome intruders. Unnatural, indeed. Another camp insists that people do not even need these vaccines thanks to the rapid decrease of disease in recent years. And what, exactly, caused this unprecedented drop in flu, tuberculosis, polio, and measles? Obviously the vaccines did; stopping them now would just bring back the high numbers. Perhaps, instead of getting all up in arms about vaccinations, detractors should accept them as what they are—lifesavers.

options include home schooling, online schooling, or no schooling at all. “The use of vaccines posed a greater danger to my six children than contracting the very disease for which they were intended,” said Dr. Martin. In fact, Dr. Martin is known for the safekeeping of his six children by home schooling them and letting their bodies protect themselves through homeopathic health practices. “For some,” clarified John Lovell, AP Government and economics teacher, “it’s just a question of religion or preference.” While there are many websites, books and articles simply disputing vaccinations, another argument is the mandation of these governmental safety precautions. According to Lovell, vaccinations should be mandated at the state level rather than federal. The Human Papilloma Virus vaccination is not mandated, but many doctors and health professionals urge young women to get the vaccine. The Gardasil HPV vaccine protects against cervical

cancer, but “in more than 90 percent of cases the infections are harmless and go away without treatment. The body’s own defense system expels the virus,” according to thinktwice. com. This vaccine is aimed at 11 and 12-year-olds, but it is administered in three doses to those nine to 26 years old. It is simply extraneous chemicals invading the body and a waste of money. Teens are easy targets for many vaccines because they are exposed to a variety of germs and activities. According to CDC.gov, it is recommended that teens receive the meningococcal conjugate, tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis. Adolescents also should have already received vaccinations against Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B, and Varicella. That is a lot of chemicals for the blood stream to handle. Not to mention a great big wad of cash for the child’s provider to cough up. Vaccines are dreaded anyway, young ones kicking the doctor as the needle drips with impending chemicals. And with the added wrongs of misplaced mandates, these injections of safety do not seem so safe.

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America is a scared country. Whether the problem is obesity or speeding, there is a stir of panic and fright. A safety net to reconsider using is vaccinations. As young as 1-year-old, a vaccination is administered to protect against the Measles. From the year we start comprehending life to the days we grow old enough to forget life, vaccines invade the body to protect induced illness and ultimately “protect” against diseases that sometimes aren’t even there. According to Article 7 of Title 9 in the Health Services documents a “child” is required to have certain vaccinations in order to receive entry for any school. In this case, “child” refers to any individual 18-years-old or younger, or any individual older than 18 that is attending school. Ironically, many cases of Autism have been traced back to a vaccine, thimerosal, which contains 50 percent mercury, according to Annette Fuentes, author and journalist. There is not much of a choice when it comes to getting such vaccinations as they are mandated, but alternate

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By Teresa Hauer ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

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the challenge

Startling appearance hopefully inspires readership, dedication, support; staff adjusts to budget changes

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october 1, 2010

hat’s black, white, and read all over? As of extraordinary productions. recently, The Challenge Newspaper. Also, this small disadvantage will force us to hone in on For the past two years, The Challenge has our writing abilities and attract attention with content rather pushed the limits of high school journalism than color. with full color publications. We plan on combatting this budget set back through This school is one of the only in the state that has been fund-raising. Specifically, the Port of Subs on 27th Avenue able to do so. and Thunderbird Road holds a fund-raiser for This year, with money being The Challenge on the third Thursday of every more of a major issue in virtually all month. Fifteen percent of all profits benefit our aspects of life, such a feat is no longer publication. a possibility. Though it is unfortunate our publication will The budget for an entire year remain mostly colorless this issue and possibly editorial board of publication is $1,800. One future issues, we are continuing to live up to our publication in full color is $1,000. Advertisements bring in greatness through our writing and design elements. about $200-400 an issue. The numbers do not necessarily We implore that our readers help us with increasing always equate to the essential amount. readership despite our budget downfall and reversing the Even as our color and thus elaborate design always made downfall by supporting our fund-raisers and advertising us extremely proud, we are determined to continue with our Even in black and white, we still shine.

E D I T O R S

Our View

Editor-in-Chief: Katie Binkley Managing Editor: Lianna Meyer Business Manager: Kim Linn Photo Editor: Krystal Morgan News Editor: Cristina Teran Features Editor: Gabby Hillery Editorial Editor: Alyssa Barton Sports Editor: Tory Weeks Entertainment Editor: Teresa Hauer Head Page Designer: Kalee Morris Social Media: Teresa Hauer, Kalee Morris

S T A F F

Jacqueline Bailes, Samantha Bautista, Adam Caskie, Crystle Dewolf, Kathryn Hall, Savannah Lange, Ronald March, Erika Miller, Miranda Motsinger, Seamus Mulvey, Colleen Pignato, Taylor Rivers, Jessica Rodriguez, Davyd Soal, Shea Sullivan, Daniel Teran, Kylie Travers, Tyler Weeks

P O L I C Y

We want to hear from The Challenge staff wants to know what YOU think. submit your opinions on the articles you read to Sheri Siwek in room 114. ATTENTION: the editorials are strictly the opinion of the writer and do not represent the opinion of the staff as a whole.

The Challenge strives to maintain the highest level of journalistic standards including sincerity, truthfulness, accuracy and fairness. This publication serves as a forum for student opinion and strives to cover events and issues of importance to students here. We encourage readers to submit suggestions, congratulations and letters to the editor through the front office. (Letters must include name, phone, but can be withheld upon request) The Challenge, a CSPA gold medalist publication, is produced by the journalism students of Thunderbird High School, 1750 W. Thunderbird Rd. Phoenix, AZ, 85023.


The Challenge Issue 1