In a world with seven billion people with constant interactions, while we can spread wisdom, kindness and love — there are things we can give to others that are not beneficial such as dangerous illnesses and bacteria. Being that I’m interested in joining the medical profession myself, a topic of discussion within the community is whether it is necessary to subjugate every child to a series of vaccinations. Despite the fact no mandatory federal vaccination laws exist, all fifty states require vaccinations for children entering public schools. It is important for all parents to consider both the benefits and risks of vaccines. Nevertheless, about two to three million deaths are prevented each year by the administration of vaccinations in the United States alone. Vaccinations assists a person’s body to become immune to a disease such as the measles, polio, smallpox and many others. The vaccine contains a piece of the weakened or killed bacteria which is introduced to a person’s immune system to help train our bodies to fight it off with a careful dose, not the real deal. In the end, most people are given immunity that when meeting viruses, our bodies will already know how to protect itself. In today’s growing society with new technology and knowledge about medicine, vaccinations for children should be mandatory to avoid an epidemic of diseases that could easily be prevented.The main purpose of vaccinations is to save lives. To know one single shot of medicine can prevent a deadly disease is an opportunity of living a healthy life. Nobody likes being sick, nobody wakes up in the morning and wishes on themselves runny noses, a hacking cough or a disease that could literally steal their ability to walk such as polio. When it comes to children, we must consider that they are still growing and without vaccinations their immune system can become easily infected with a fatal disease. Much like someone who is riding a bike, they’re naturally going to wear a helmet. They don’t plan to fall but just in case they do go tumbling down — the helmet will protect the head. In likeness, we hope that the introduction of vaccines will prevent the contraction of deadly diseases. School aged children are encountering other children and with that, their immune systems are going to be put to the test. New bacteria are being introduced to their systems and while some children will adapt, others will inevitably get sick. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “most childhood vaccines are 90%-99% effective in preventing disease” (Vaccine Safety). While it’s common for children to contract the cold from one another, be sick for a week and get back to normal, there are more serious diseases to consider. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is particularly dangerous to infants. It has one of the largest “basic reproductive rates” which means it is easy to spread. The sickness can spread up to fifteen to seventeen people at a time (Wolfson). According to the CDC, “before the whooping cough vaccines were recommended for all infants, about 8,000 people in the United States died each year from whooping cough. Today, because of the vaccine, this number has dropped to fewer than 20 per year”. It shows to go that it is better safe than sorry.My next reasoning for vaccinating children is that it can help the future generations become immune to the diseases and help eliminate diseases. For thousands of years, small pox was a contagious, disfiguring disease with no cure or treatment. Nevertheless, a vaccine can prevent it. By 1980, naturally occurring smallpox was destroyed worldwide and even now in 2015, there are no incidences of smallpox. “Coordinated efforts rid the world of a disease that had once killed up to 35% of its victims and left others scarred or blind”. Even rinderpest, a disease that affected livestock, has been eradicated largely due to vaccination. It shows to go that it’s easier to prevent a disease than to treat it. “Brochures claim that the vaccine protects against flu in 70% to 90% of adults who receive it; official documents state 50% of deaths among the elderly could be prevented with universal vaccination.” (Modern Healthcare). “The sixth national poll of almost 2,000 parents found 95% of children were fully vaccinated.” (Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal). With vaccines, it is completely plausible that some diseases will become eradicated completely which is beneficial because certain illnesses are life threatening and getting rid of them all together means having a safer, healthier future.Not only do vaccines save lines, they can save money and time. Such as if the child were to get sick, the parents would have to spend time nurturing the child back to health by medicine or go to the doctors for the child to be evaluated. The CDC estimates that “children vaccinated between 1994 and 2014 have yielded net savings of $1.38 trillion in ‘societal costs,’ including money saved by preventing lost productivity due to disability and early death”. Given the usefulness and effectiveness of vaccines, many are available without the need of copay making them that more accessible. Without health insurance, medical bills can become expensive. Parents need to go to work to make an income and provide for the family. If a parent has a healthy child, the parent would not have to worry about expensive medical bills. This also promotes herd immunity which is the idealism that when a large proportion is vaccinated against a contagious disease, it decreases the chance that an outbreak will occur because most of the population is protected. Unfortunately, “the ratio of children that go to school without immunizations had tripled in the recent decade” (Wolfson). This leads to the counterargument that view vaccinations negatively. The first being that the parents should have the right not to vaccinate their child due to political, personal, or religious beliefs. The followers in some religions such as Jehovah’s Witness do not believe that medicine will help or putting unnatural substances in the body is safe much like their adversity to being given blood. I believe in a person’s ability to say no. But I’ve also found that some people disregard it due to a lack of knowledge of the benefits. “The more I learned about vaccines, the more I began to mistrust most of them and to question why we were giving healthy babies shots that were full of poison (mercury)” (Kluck). “If doctors really believed they were safe, why was I required to always sign a form releasing the doctor from culpability should there be a negative effect? He patiently listened, but could offer no evidence—only platitudes and vague “facts”” (Kluck). But with all things, there is a risk. Personal, political, and religious beliefs should be respected in any community. Vaccinations do contain unnatural substances like mercury which is considered a poison. But the ingredients in vaccines are used in safe dosages to where major medical organizations state that vaccines are not harmful and some of the safest forms of medicine. While I believe in respecting a person’s belief, I believe educating the masses because the mercury compound, thimerosal, has been removed or reduced to trace amounts for children under six years old.Following that opposing viewpoint, the next is to consider is that vaccinations can cause long-term side-effects in the child such as long-time seizures, autism, permanent brain damage and other many side-effects. Again, vaccines contain harmful ingredients that if not careful administered are dangerous. Formaldehyde can be found in some which is a known carcinogen which means it can potential produce cancer. Fatal side effects have been linked to some vaccines however, the CDC and the FDA make sure that the ingredients are regulated. It’s a scary thought that healthy children are being vaccinated and have negative effects after receiving vaccinations. Something that is meant for the betterment of health ends of being some detrimental is a terrifying reality which has happened in the past. The parents of these children that have a negative side-effect now must spend more money and time nurturing their children when they could have lived a healthy and normal life. However, according to Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN and practicing neurosurgeon, “you are 100 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine that protects you against measles.”Having carefully considered the counter arguments, I still truly believe in mandatory vaccinations for the sake there has been more proof of positives than negatives. With all things, in all aspects of life, there is a risk to be hurt. Nevertheless, vaccinations have proved to safe countless amounts of lives. Being that we live in the United States, we have better access to these life saving vaccines than other countries. And I don’t think it’s something to take for granted. As a person who believes in opportunities, it is in the child’s best interest to be vaccinated for the fact it will not only benefit them but the children around them from contracting a preventable disease. Shots hurt, yes. Nevertheless, the pain of a needle puncturing an arm and the pain of watching your children suffer through something that could’ve been prevented are two different things. Vaccinations should be mandatory for children to help future generations become immune to diseases, save lives and keep the herd immunity and to provide economic benefits for society as well as save time. As it is the one thing in life a person cannot get back once it is gone. In the world, there are seven billion people we share the Earth with, let us also share the knowledge that lives can be saved each day by these mandatory vaccinations.
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