Vaccines Should it be a personal choice?

There are many concerns around the safety of vaccines but the truth is that vaccines save lives and protect our loved ones. What many people fail to realize is that not getting vaccinated doesn’t only affect you but everyone you encounter.

Infants are one of the most vulnerable groups of people because of their suppressed immune systems.

Infants are unable to get the needed vaccines until they reach the proper ages which leaves them at a higher risk of contracting a disease or infection. If more people were immunized it would create a safeguard for those who are too young or sick to be vaccinated.

The current status of required vaccinations in the United states is at the state and local level.

In all 50 states, certain vaccinations are a requirement for child care facilities, public and private schools, and some medical professions (CDC, 2016). However, all states allow religious and/or personal-belief exceptions except California, Mississippi, and West Virginia. But in the states that it is easier to get exemption do have higher rates of disease spread (Haelle, 2016).

It is estimated that vaccines are successful 90-99% of the time. More specifically when vaccines are given to children it helps them develop immunity to the targeted disease. As stated before, vaccines are not 100% effective which can sometimes lead to the child still getting the disease. However, when a vaccinated child does get sick he/she usually gets symptoms that are less serious than someone who has not been vaccinates (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2008). This shows that vaccines do help the body create immunity and recognition to the disease and fights it off better than someone who has never encountered the disease before.

Vaccines are given to children to help them develop immunity to the targeted disease. Many childhood diseases have been eradicated due to decades of vaccinations.

Diseases like smallpox and almost polio have gone extinct. Smallpox is no longer vaccinated because it has been eradicated for nearly 40 years and no longer occurs naturally. Another vaccine preventable disease is measles. This disease is highly contagious especially in children. Due to vaccinations, child deaths from measles has decreased by 74%.

Nevertheless, there are still cases of this disease being spend among communities. Sarah Schultz, a registered nurse and pro-vaccinations’, wrote in her blog “Just last week a case of measles has been confirmed not 2 hours from where we live from a teenager who brought it back from a trip to the Netherlands. Within a week the number of confirmed cases is at 13 and on week 2 that number was 19 and it was just confirmed that all 19 people who contracted measles had NOT been vaccinated” (Schultz, 2015).

Out of all the people in this community who had contact with this infected individual only the ones who were not vaccinated against the disease where affected. Schultz story shows that vaccinations helps lessen the spread of disease and how easily it can come into a country and affect the people around you.

The most common side effect reported was a sore arm and a mild fever. This is a normal response for the body when a foreign invader is present. The body response by fighting it and thus earns a permeant memory of the disease and how to defeat it. On the extreme end, one of the side effects that can happen is anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction. What many people fail to realize is that an allergic reaction is extremely rare, but it occurs in almost one per several hundred thousand vaccinations

Many people fear the MMR vaccine because it was thought to be correlated to autism and autism spectrum disorders. Many doctors and researchers have debunked this theory, but it is still a constant worry among the population. If more people knew that the chances were 1 in 1 million deaths from the MMR vaccine compared to 1 in 1000-2000 deaths from the actual disease their opinion may change. This statistic explains that you are 1000 times more likely to die from the disease than the vaccine for the disease (Schultz 2015).

Nobody is denying that vaccines cannot cause side effects but can anyone name anything that is 100% safe? Over 90% of Americans have a car, but cars are far from 100% safe (Commuting in American 2013, 2013). There is no guarantee that when you operate your vehicle you will not get into an accident. This is a fact of life, nothing can ever be proven 100% effective and safe but that shouldn’t be a reason against it.

It may be argued that vaccines shouldn’t be mandatory because it invades citizens’ rights to religious freedom.

The First Amendment of the US Constitution explains that the Congress is not allowed to make a law for or against a religion. The Amish communities are not against all vaccines, but they believe that they are all not necessary. Also, some followers believe that vaccines can weaken the immune system. However, this is a misconception because vaccines do not weaken the immune system, it is more of an aid to the immune system. Lastly, there are others like the Universal Family Church, who agree that vaccinations should be decided by the parents (ProCon.org). Overall, there have been many religions and churches who at first opposed the idea of vaccines but later realized the value and importance of them.

Not getting vaccinated affects everyone around you form babies to individuals with suppressed immune systems like cancer patients. It has been proven time and time again that vaccines have helped save millions of lives.

Credits:

Created with images by karenwarfel - "twins boys babies" • Fred Hsu - "IMG_6992" • jessicaerichsenkent - "newborn infant baby" • Dr PS Sahana * Kadamtala Howrah - "The needle"

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