Vaccines are considered one of the top medical achievements in history. Since 1796, when the first successful vaccine was developed against smallpox, the science field has grown to generate more successful vaccines. These vaccines have allowed common diseases from centuries ago to be eliminated. From the start of vaccines, many lives have been saved from many life-threatening diseases. Although there are many positives about vaccines, many parents still question the importance of their children being immunized. The reasons why many parents do not want their children immunized vary from religious beliefs, misconceptions they have heard about vaccines, or simply a lack of understanding about what vaccines do. The purpose of vaccines is to create a safe environment for our children and ourselves. Therefore, immunization should be required for all children because of the herd effect, which protects the community, and because vaccines are safe and efficient.
The first reason why children should be immunized is to protect themselves and their community. Herd immunity is the resistance to spread of a contagious disease within a population if sufficiently high proportion of individuals is immune to the disease, especially through vaccination(Oxford English Dictionary definition). The large community group that is vaccinated can provide protection to those individuals who cannot be vaccinated or develop immunity. As a community, we can allow those who rely on herd immunity instead of their own immunity to stop the disease from attacking them.
Statistics have shown the drop of diseases since the development of vaccines. According to a research scientist Emily Willingham After the chickenpox vaccine debuted in the United States in 1995, death rates dropped by as much as 97%. In the U.S., no infants got vaccinated because it’s not administered to them due to age, but even then, no infants died in 2004 and 2007. The herd effect protected these children from becoming sick. How this worked was, the large portion of the population in the United States was immunized; this prevented the disease from spreading and contaging the unimmunized population. Not only does the herd effect benefit the small or large communities, but it can eventually lead to the decrease of spreading a disease nationally. If herd immunity has been established and maintained in a population for sufficient time, the disease is inevitably eliminated (Wikipedia, Eradication of Diseases). The positives of this effect are very high and provide the safety that we want for our children.
The second reason why children should be immunized is because the vaccines that are being administered are safe and efficient. Before a vaccine is out to the public, scientists/chemists and administration run many tests to approve the safety of the vaccines. Developing a new vaccine is done through several years, beginning with six developing cycles, with one cycle having three phases. The next step after the development of a vaccine, is the approval from six different FDA’s (CDC, Vaccine Testing and the Approval Process). As we can see, the process of developing and approving vaccines is a very long and efficient process in order to ensure the safety of the vaccines to the public. Even after approving and having the vaccines in public, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System tracks any side effects and analyzes the information to maintain the vaccine’s safety (VAERS).
Many statistics have shown that immunization has been one of the most successful medical breakthroughs achieved (Ben Balding, Mandatory Vaccination). The efficiency that the CDC has statistically seen from vaccines gets very high every year. Vaccine efficiency is the percent reduction in disease incidence in a vaccinated group compared to an unvaccinated group under optimal conditions (Defined by RCT/Wikipedia). According to a study done through Pediatric Academic Society Vaccines prevent an estimate of 2.5 million deaths per year and have prevented an estimate of 10.5 million cases of diseases since 2004. Many of the cases where people have died from diseases have been from those who were unvaccinated. This information comes to show that vaccines are very efficient and effective.
Some people claim that vaccines contain many chemicals that poison the body. Although part of this statement is true, many of the chemicals do not poison the body. Many vaccines before the 2000’s did indeed have chemical compounds such as aluminium, thimerosal, formaldehyde, etc (Vaccine Ingredients, The Truth). These chemicals, according to the CDC, have been either eliminated or the dosage in each vaccine was changed. Furthermore, the amount of chemicals in vaccines is such a small amount that the body is able to run it through the blood almost instantly, and no harm will be caused. Most of the chemicals in vaccines are present in our daily intake of food, and are also already in our bodies for the use of our metabolism. The most damage these chemicals have caused is skin irritation or fevers. (Vaccine ingredients, Vaccine Knowledge)
Another argument against vaccines is because of certain religious beliefs, the government shouldn’t make vaccines mandatory. Although many people are involved in some sort of faith, it is important to set a standard when it comes to health. The CDC has proven that those with religious beliefs that practice anti-vaccination are most of the percentage of people getting diseases. Most of the time, the community with the same beliefs can cause large outbreaks and can affect the rest of the nation. They can affect others when traveling or entering a school with no vaccinations. No religious belief should have to imperil the health of their own children and those of others.
In conclusion, the health of society doesn’t only involve one individual, but it involves an entire community. To continue having the United States be a preventable-disease-free nation, we need to continue to immunize ourselves and our children. Vaccines will help protect others from diseases through the herd immunity, and they will continue to be safe and efficient as long as we continue to use them.
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