EzekielEmanuel stated, “Vaccines are the most cost-effective health care interventionsthere are. A dollar spent on a childhood vaccination not only helps save alife, but greatly reduces spending on future healthcare.
” Even though vaccineshave become a staple of modern society there are still individuals who choosenot to vaccinate their children prior to attending public school. Mandatoryvaccinations for children attending public schools is the best solution toreduce high medical cost and protect school children who are unable to bevaccinated due to health conditions such as HIV infections and childrenreceiving cancer treatments. Although vaccinations did not become widely availableuntil the 1920s, immunization goes back hundreds of years. According toimmune.org, Buddhist monks drank snake venom to create an immunity to snakes andvariolation was practiced in China in the 17th century. In the Westin 1796, Edward Jenner inoculated a thirteen-year-old boy with cowpox andexhibited immunity to smallpox. Due to this, Jenner was considered to be thefounder.
In 1798, the first smallpox vaccine was developed. In the 18thand 19th centuries, smallpox immunization led to its elimination in1979. In 1897 through 1904, Louis Pasteur’s, a French biologist, microbiologist,and chemist, experiments pathed the way for the development of the choleravaccine. Pasteur’s studies also led to an inactivated anthrax vaccine.
From1890and 1950, the development of bacterial vaccinations expanded. The inactivationof the tetanus toxin was perfected by Alexander Glenny. His method was used tocreate a vaccine against diphtheria.
From 1950 to 1985, viral tissue culturesled to the development of the Sabin polio vaccine and the Salk polio vaccine. Polioimmunization led to its elimination in many areas around the world. Strains ofrubella, mumps, and measles were also developed to be included in vaccines.Currently, measles is the next for elimination due to vaccination. Vaccinationis a miracle of modern medicine. Compared to other medical products,vaccinations are responsible for saving more lives worldwide over the previous50 years. Massachusettswas the first state to pass a law requiring vaccination against smallpox in1809 and since then vaccination laws have become a controversial topic and itcontinues to be fought over in courts.
While there is no federal vaccinationlaw currently, all fifty states have laws requiring children to be vaccinatedagainst certain diseases including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles,and rubella. Forty-seven of those states allow exceptions on the grounds ofreligion and seventeen allow philosophical exemptions. In most states arequirement of written proof from a health care provider that vaccinations weregiven must be met. Unless there is a valid objection or a medical condition ispresent, children who fail to become vaccinated are not allowed in school.Medical exemptions are allowed in all states.
Some exemptions are a child witha compromised immune system, any allergy to ingredients in vaccines, or otherchronic or severe illnesses. Every state except for West Virginia andMississippi allow religious objections to immunization. Less than half of thestates allow parents who do not believe in the need, safety, or effectivenessthe ability to ask for exemption based on philosophical objection. Theseparents who ask for exemption based on religion or philosophical objection arerequired to give schools a written form explaining their objections toimmunizing their child. In some situations, schools will not honor theseobjections. Eventhough inactivated, the injection of a potentially harmful virus may soundscary and unthinkable to some, but there are several benefits to vaccinations. Contraryto common belief, vaccinations are not harmful.
They are actually safe andeffective. They are carefully reviewed by doctors, scientists, and the federalgovernment. Vaccine safety has received more public attention than vaccineeffectiveness, but experts have shown that vaccines are safer than therapeuticmedicines. Even though severalinfectious disease cases have declined in the states, they are still common inother countries.
Due to this, these diseases can be brought to the states byinternational travelers and are still pose a threat. Vaccinations can preventthe spread of those diseases and prevent further epidemics. Being vaccinated canprotect an individual from possible complications such as amputation, paralysis,brain damage, and even death when a vaccine-prevented disease is present. Diseasescan become eradicated due to immunization. Also, it is cheaper to prevent adisease via vaccination than it is to treat it if infected.
Vaccines can alsoreduce the need for antibiotics which in turn reduces the likelihood ofantibiotic resistance. Vaccines can evenincrease life expectancy. According to WHO, elderly individuals who were giventhe influenza vaccine in the Unites States had approximately 20% less chance ofsuffering from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and 50% lower risk ofmortality from all causes compared to those who remained unvaccinated. If an individual chooses not to vaccinate themselves ortheir children, there are related risks. The possibility of death is not theonly consequence to refusing vaccinations.
An unvaccinated individual could be putat risk. Unvaccinated individuals can require treatment that is less common andmedical staffs can be less familiar and experienced with the proceduresrequired to treat them appropriately. Pregnancy can be complicated if a womancontracts a vaccine-prevented disease due to skipping vaccinations. A woman whobecomes infected with a vaccine-prevented disease while pregnant may have achild with heart defects, developmental delays, or deafness. People who choosenot to vaccinate their children not only put their child at risk but alsoothers at risks if their child becomes ill. There are also social implicationsof not getting vaccinated. If sick or exposed to a disease, individuals may beisolated from others. If there is an outbreak within a community, children maybe removed from schools and other activities.
A child’s inability to attendschool or go about their daily routine may also affect the parent’s ability towork which could harm their income. There are side effects to any medical procedure ortreatment. A common reason individuals choose not to vaccinate their childrenis due to the theory that vaccinations can cause defects such as autism. Theissue on vaccines causing autism date back to the 1990s.
A 2013 CDC study addedto previous research showing vaccines do not cause autism. Several studies haveshown that disorders are due to both genetic factors and environmental factors.Researchers continue to examine the relationship but there is no evidence thatvaccinations play a role in autism development. The relationship between vaccinations andcertain neuropsychiatric diseases is one of coincidence rather thancausality. There are people from around the world who chose not tovaccinate their children and later regretted it. One person, Sophie Heawood,wrote an article on how she wishes she would have vaccinated her daughter.
Sheadmits to being one of the many people who refused to have her child vaccinatedfor anything. She recalls thinking that her daughter could not possiblecontract any of the diseases the doctors wanted to vaccinate her for. Shebelieved, like so many, that her child would build up a strong immune systemall of her own without being interfered with by immunizations. Her thoughtschanged when her daughter caught pertussis commonly known as whooping cough.
This meant months of pain for her daughter. Pertussis is a highly contagiousdisease that comes in stages. Ms. Heawood recalls her daughter’s hacking coughthat kept her awake all night.
She also explains how disgusting it was for herto watch her child needlessly suffer. Although Ms. Heawood still “feels funny”about vaccinations she explains she feels even funnier about her children oranyone else’s children dying from a vaccine-prevented disease. All of this simply boils down to my own personal opinion.
I believe all children, adults, teens, and healthcare workers should bevaccinated. It’s my opinion that choosing not to vaccinate a child is reckless.Not only is that child vulnerable to contract illnesses that people have workedso endlessly to eradicate, but other people are also at risk. If anunvaccinated child contracts a preventable disease, and before it is known tothe parent’s, spends the day at a local playground then any child that comes incontact with the affected individual becomes exposed. While everyone reactsdifferently, it only takes one infected person to fatally infect another. Likestated, there is no federal law requiring immunization and some states allowexemptions, not all individuals choose to exempt their child’s vaccinations. Mypersonal belief is that there should not be any exemptions from vaccinations.
One person may choose to take their chances with becoming ill, but why shouldthey also be allowed to make decisions for other individuals? In my perspectiveallowing individuals to choose whether or not they vaccinate their children isultimately allowing them to make that choice for everyone else. While everyonewants the right to do with their bodies as they please, they should not havethe right to potentially endanger someone else’s life. While vaccinations have their benefits, and have beenpracticed for centuries, there are still weary individuals in the world whoargue against the research and choose the other way. While it’s not illegal torefuse vaccinations based on certain stand points, I feel it is careless toremain unvaccinated. I honestly believe the benefits of immunization willalways outweigh any reason for exemption.