Vaccines have been used all across America since the formation of the U.S. Vaccine Agency in 1812. Unlike medicines, vaccinations are used as an attempt to prevent health problems rather than treat or cure them. Because of their influence, many deadly diseases today are not as widespread. When a child is injected with a vaccine, they are actually being injected with a very weak version of a disease. This allows their immune system to become stronger against it as the child gets older, fighting against stronger versions of the virus in order to prevent being affected by them. However, some people still choose to not get vaccinated. This can potentially be harmful to those that have had their shots, due to the unvaccinated child or adult increasing the risk of disease. It is because of this great risk that vaccinations should be mandatory, in order to protect the general public.
Despite knowing that vaccines do not always work 100% already, anti-vaxxers argue that they do not work at all. This is untrue, and had been proven wrong many times. One source says that, […] in the 2007 Journal of the American Medical Association, [a study] concluded that [vaccines] have dramatically lowered the incidence of many severe illnesses […]. Rubella […] infected roughly 48,000 people a year in the mid-20th century; today, that number is less than two dozen (Mandatory Vaccination). Other infections and viruses have almost been completely eliminated. While the fact that vaccines are not 100% effective still stands, it does not mean that they do not offer any protection at all. Some people can not be vaccinated due to health issues, so they rely on others to be vaccinated in order to kill off diseases. This is known as herd immunity. If someone is not vaccinated and does not have a health issue that will go against it, they contribute against the percentage. They have a chance of causing an outbreak of viruses.
Not only should children be vaccinated, but adults should visit with their doctors regularly to see if they should be vaccinated as well. Each year, around 40,000 Americans die of diseases that could have been prevented by routine vaccine checkups (Missed shots: adult vaccines). Many adults are uninformed about getting vaccinations. The main cause of this is that people are more focused on only child vaccinations, rather than getting all people vaccinated. Not only is this a problem in America, but in other countries as well. One multi-country survey found that 60% of adults say they have not received government-provided information on the importance of adult vaccinations (Survey finds). A doctor named Harold C. Neu explains how easy it is to get deadly diseases without vaccines (Barnhill). For example, a person could get tetanus from just cutting themselves with rusty metal. The risk of this is greatly decreased with vaccines: statistics from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that a little less than half of Americans aged 60 and older do not even have the antibodies to defend against tetanus without vaccination (Frick).
The laws in the U.S. have also contributed in endangering the public from these diseases. Today, all 50 U.S. states have laws requiring parents to get their children vaccinated. However, there are exemptions to these laws. As of 2016, 47 out of 50 states have religious exemptions to these laws and 17 have philosophical exemptions (Vaccination Rumors). Essentially, the country has people that are not being vaccinated due to non-medical reasons. In some states, all that a child needs to be exempted from these vaccinations is a parent’s signature (Mandatory Vaccination). One person’s choice should not be able to affect the lives of many others.
There are many arguments that people against mandatory vaccines have. Some people believe that vaccines can be harmful, due to a study from The Lancet in 1998 that claimed that vaccinations may cause autism and other mental or physical problems (Mandatory Vaccination). Despite this being dubbed as a discredited source, some parents still do not vaccinate their children out of fear, thus increasing the risk of easily preventable diseases to affect their children. Other people believe that simply eating more healthily can make up for not getting vaccinations. While eating healthy is good, it can not prevent bacteria from entering your body or defend against them. Many of these arguments have a huge lack of evidence to defend them.
In conclusion, vaccines are not meant to harm people, but rather protect them. Misinformation is what affects the public’s opinion so strongly, not science. Without vaccinations, we would not have nearly eradicated diseases like polio and diphtheria. State governments are here to serve the people, and they can not do that without protecting them. By making vaccines mandatory for all people, without health issues, they would be able to prevent deadly diseases from killing large populations of citizens.
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