The small risk of serious problems. Vaccines have

Thecontroversy concerning vaccination for children has been a debate for manyparents. A vaccine is defined as a biological agent used to prevent veryserious illnesses and diseases, such as smallpox, measles, influenza,tuberculosis, and hepatitis by injecting a weakened infectious organism intothe human body. When vaccines are given, the human body produces antibodiesagainst the foreign substance, thus creating a defense mechanism for immunityto occur. Parenting decisions based on vaccinations are a sensitive matter in achild’s life.

Many parents favor vaccines because they care about theirchildren’s health during the first years of their lives. There are parents whofully trust and admire doctors for their efforts in contributing to preventativehealthcare. However, some parents delay vaccinations because they are genuinelyconcerned about severe allergic reactions or long-term side effects. Otherparents completely refuse vaccinations because they are unable to afford it orhold personal, moral, or religious beliefs. Disease prevention is important topublic health because it protects both those who receive them and those withwhom they come in contact with. There is a minority of parents who are against vaccinationsbecause of the idea that it causes more harm than good.

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They fear thatvaccinations will cause serious and permanent damage in the natural immunesystem. They also believe that their child’s immune system is never allowed togrow if they become too dependent on the medicine. The Family Doctor websitehas an article called, Vaccines: What They Are and Why Your Child Needs Themthat affirms, “Vaccines are generally quite safe. The protection provided byvaccines far outweighs the very small risk of serious problems. Vaccines havemade many serious childhood diseases rare today” (Editorial Staff). Apediatrician and bioethicist from Vanderbilt University on the Flu VaccinesWithdrawn in Alert Over Side-effects article also says, “Vaccines are importanttools in preventing serious infectious disease across the lifespan, frominfancy through adulthood.

All health care interventions, however, carry thepossibility of risk and vaccines are no exception” (Clayton 12). There is noguarantee that vaccines do not cause risks, but scientific studies reveal thatserious problems rarely happen. According to the Center for Disease Control andPrevention website, “Any vaccine can cause side effects. For the most partthese are minor .

. . sore arm or low-grade fever and go away within a few days.”Vaccines cause mild and temporary side effects, such as redness, fever, orswelling at the site where the shot was given (“Frequently Asked QuestionsAbout Immunizations”). An article called, The Truth About Gardasil talks aboutgirls receiving the Gardasil shot and their adverse effects. These effectsincluded nausea, vomiting, redness, swelling, and more. The Center for DiseaseControl and Prevention shows the probability of being about a one in fourpeople to develop these symptoms.

Therefore, these girls were most likely partof the minority group to acquire these reactions.Since vaccines have to be taken numerous times in a year,parents oppose vaccines because of the costs. They are expensive depending onthe amount of doses, as well as the cost of a doctor’s visit. For example, theGardasil shot is specifically made to prevent cervical cancer in women and itcosts $360 for three shots.

Many health insurance companies will pay for thisvaccine and there are also programs that help people without insurance to getit for low or no cost. Health insurance companies emphasize preventive care,which maintains good overall health. Unfortunately, there are many people whoare uninsured and these services are simply too expensive. The federalgovernment website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicescalled, Vaccines provide benefits to help make it more affordable andaccessible. The website states, “If you don’t have insurance, or if it does notcover vaccines, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program may be able to help . .

. provides vaccines at no cost to doctors who serve eligible children . . .younger than 19 years of age.

” This federally funded program helps those whohave the inability to pay for vaccinations. There is another program that mayhelp provide free vaccines called, the Michigan Vaccine Replacement Program.Gail Brink is the finance director for the health department and notes thatuninsured or underinsured people have increased the last few years and more areapplying for programs (“Cost of Vaccines Have Risen Drastically”).

According toan analysis by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, every dollarspent on immunizations saves $18.40 in medical costs, creating a total of $42billion in savings from treating unvaccinated diseased individuals. Vaccinescreate significant economic benefits for our society even for people who do nothave the proper health insurance to get the preventative care they need. Inaddition, preventative care is easier than curing and less expensive thantreatments.

The development of vaccines is one of the greatest advancesin modern medicine. However, parents do not see this as an important matter interms of getting their child vaccinated. Countless of parents believe thatdoctors are greedy and ignorant, so they develop trust issues in their medicalassessments. This can be revealed from the KevinMD website which has an articlecalled, When People Decide Not to Vaccinate their Children, I Take ItPersonally.

It is written by a medical doctor who has worked in both pediatricand adult medicine for years and states, “I see people who are not onlyrejecting what we have to offer, but are vilifying doctors . . . who havedevoted decades of their lives to caring for children and families and continueto work their hardest to give patients the highest quality care we know how”(Au).

Au genuine cares for children and families, but she personally feelsoffended by people who reject her efforts and motives to help. It is importantthat parents recognize the fact that doctors go through years of education todedicate their lives to work in the healthcare field and help treat sick orinjured people. Parents should also give not only doctors, but scientists thecredit for extensively creating and testing vaccines intended for preventativehealthcare. Many parents often think vaccines are unnecessary in manycases where the risk of death from disease is highly unlikely. The reason forthis is that they believe maintaining a child’s health is enough to protectthem from sickness. Although the death rate of childhood diseases was reduced bygood hygiene and purified drinking water prior to vaccines, children are nowexposed to thousands of germs at any given moment that is beyond our control.This is especially difficult when a child is in school and their parents areincapable of looking after them. A number of parents go through extrememeasures to avoid vaccinating their child by helping them develop good personalhabits.

Some even decide to home school their child to keep them away frompeople who carry germs. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention says, “Ifan unvaccinated child is exposed to a disease germ, the child’s body may not bestrong enough to fight the disease. Before vaccines, many children died fromdiseases that vaccines now prevent, such as the whooping cough, measles, andpolio.” Throughout the years, potentially fatal diseases like the ones listedin the citation have been eliminated and reduced with routine immunization.This is why parents should at least take their child to see a primary physicianfor annual checkups and get the recommended immunizations.Additionally, many parents jeopardize the health of thepublic due to their religious beliefs. Christian parents may take a passagefrom the New Testament principle, “Do you not know that you are the temple ofGod, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple,God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy”(New American Bible, 1 Cor.

3:16-17). Some may have even taken passages in thescripture from the Old Testament principle, “You are children of the LORD, yourGod. You shall not gash yourselves . .

.” (New American Bible, Duet. 14.1).Christian parents believe that our bodies are, “temples” and should not betampered with.

According to an article called, Parents Should Be Pressed toHave their Children Vaccinated, a social worker and founder of National Councilfor the Child named Kadman says, There are those who say ‘God will protect the children, notthe vaccine.’ They think that the fact that the majority of children arevaccinated will protect them. But this is a selfish attitude, as the lower thevaccination rate in the general population, the greater the risk that thedisease will break out among unvaccinated children. (Siegal)Vaccinated children will not guarantee resistance againstdisease as well as the influence from Christian values. In the article on thePublic Health Report website called, The Biology of Vaccines and CommunityDecisions to Vaccinate, Freeman states that, “.

. . immunization strategy forprotecting entire communities can only be effective when herd immunity has beenachieved. Herd immunity is achieved when there is a sufficient level of vaccineprotection in the population to prevent circulation of the disease to those whoremain biologically susceptible” (21). Therefore, if the majority of thepopulation is immunized, there are enough people to prevent the spread ofdisease through the population.

The ongoing debate about anti-vaccination confuses a handfulof parents to take a decision at their own risk. We are fortunate to live in atime when vaccines are an important health benefit to the public, especiallyfor children who are prone to certain diseases. Allergic reactions are mild andprotection undeniably outweighs the severity of the fatal side effects.Vaccination fees should not be a setback because those without insurance orhave a plan that does not have drug coverage may qualify for free vaccinesthrough federally funded programs.

Vaccines prepare children to protect theirbodies to fight many potentially deadly diseases. Doctors and scientists shouldbe trusted as they have continually studied in their field to become fullyqualified. There is without a doubt that the majority of them are true to theirwork. When we have the guidance of these healthcare providers, it is easier tomake decisions based on all the essential factors to good health. Even so,boosting a child’s immunity naturally with healthy foods or plenty of sleep isnot enough to protect them from infectious diseases. There will be feweramounts of children that can catch a disease when a larger number ofpopulations are vaccinated.

Making sure a child’s vaccination records areupdated and that they are getting a yearly flu shot is a preventative measurenot only for a child’s benefit, but for the rest of us.


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