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Vaccination involves administering antigenic materials or vaccines with the aim of stimulating immune systems of individuals to reinforce the development of adaptive capacities to fight diseases. Vaccines help in preventing or suppressing the consequences of infections associated with the role of pathogens. Based on the utilitarian approach, vaccination should be commended based on the benefits it accords the society. The practice should be encouraged because the benefits of vaccination are widely verifiable. Due to insufficient level of science education and so much inaccurate medical information out there, the public in general is not able to make such a decision in an informed way. This has become a growing public health concern; hence, there is a need for compulsory vaccination.
Higher rates of vaccination in a society help in slowing down the spread of diseases like measles; thus, it promotes protecting populations. This is because vaccination is effective and it reduces cases of transmission. However, the virus is still out there, and unvaccinated people are at a bigger risk. Unvaccinated individuals from various countries could transmit viral diseases to those people who are unvaccinated in other regions. Citizens who are not vaccinated could also be infected while travelling. On returning back, they may infect other individuals.
In those countries where immunity of general public is not achieved, the quick development of a country is hindered. According to Cuttino (26), in Africa, every single minute one child dies due to ailments associated with measles. This is an unnecessary record as vaccination could prevent these deaths. This number of deaths taking place in the undeveloped countries prevents them from eventually becoming developed. It is clear that if a large part of population is continually dying from different diseases such as measles, then the larger population would become incapacitated. Thus, for undeveloped countries to develop there should be sufficient immunity to diseases. If an epidemic occurs in developed country, it would also most likely have a negatively affect on the country’s economy.
In the current times, there exist over two hundred mandated vaccines in the development process (Schumacher 89). As such, the authorities are under an obligation to take decisions regarding whether to make the vaccinations mandatory or optional. However, it is worth noting that making vaccinations mandatory is critical when recipients may lack the necessary knowledge to make the right health choices. However, in an environment where the individuals involved are well informed, vaccinating should remain optional to allow the parents or guardians the opportunity to do what is in the best interests of the young ones.
Vaccination should be mandatory to allow the majority of people to be vaccinated. In this case, the chance of increasing the spread of a disease will be reduced. However, increased immunity is desirable in attaining success (Freeman 21). The implication of this is that a good number of people should be vaccinated to shield those who have a high likelihood of vulnerability to diseases. Failure to achieve herd immunity makes those who have been vaccinated ineffectively to be exposed to those who are not vaccinated; an aspect that compounds disease control. Health is not only a matter of personal choice but a matter of public concern, and so is vaccination. It is within the rights and responsibility of governments to mandate it and ensure it is achieved.
Importance of Vaccination
Vaccination is critical in saving lives. Through the advancement made in the field of medical science, one could be protected from contracting diseases. Due to the usage of effective vaccination, some diseases, which affected people in a negative way, have been reduced greatly, while others have neared extinction. Vaccines have a considerable impact, as exemplified by the eradication of polio in the United States.
Vaccinations protect future generations. Diseases that used to kill or severely affect people years ago have been reduced by vaccination and in some cases eliminated. An example is the smallpox vaccination that eradicated the disease globally. Children vaccination against rubella (German measles) has lowered the risk that pregnant women will pass this illness on to their newborn or fetus. Thus, birth defects that were associated with this virus are not seen in the United States any more. If vaccination is continued, future parents can trust that many of the present diseases will not harm their offspring.
Vaccination is both effective and safe. Scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals only do vaccination after a lengthy review. Vaccines are accompanied by a certain degree of discomfort that occasionally leads to redness, pain or tenderness where injection is done, but this is inconsequential when measured against the effects vaccination has overall. Very rarely severe side effects may follow vaccination. Typically, such include allergic reactions. Disease-prevention benefits of accessing vaccines remain much higher when compared to the potential side effects for the people.
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Vaccination helps in saving of family resources. Students who suffer from a preventable disease could be denied school attendance or basic childcare facilities. Such preventable ailments can lead to persistent disabilities, which could be very costly financially due to loss of time at the workplace, medical bills, and long-standing disability care. On the other hand, being vaccinated against such diseases is a better idea that should usually be insured. Vaccines for the children programs in most instances are sponsored; hence, they are available at no cost to children who come from low-income backgrounds.
Immunization protects others. Unfortunately, young children may not be allowed to receive vaccination and others may not receive certain vaccinations due to such issues as severe allergies, weak immune systems, conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them away from such diseases, it is important that other members of family of people around them are vaccinated and fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps minimize the spread of diseases to friends.
Should Vaccinations Be Optional?
Vaccinations should be optional for people with pre-existing medical conditions such as allergies and weak immune systems. If vaccination has to be compulsory, then such a thing has to be initiated after a careful consideration. In such cases, caveats should be put in place for those who cannot be vaccinated due to pre-existing health conditions.
Most of the countries worldwide greatly value the freedom on a public as well as individual basis and do not support communal or collective choices (Freeman 21). Most people will feel that a mandatory vaccination, without an option, is a direct infringement on the right to privacy. Since vaccinations may not work for everybody, there is no need to have healthy people taking a major risk regarding something that would not be effective. Getting vaccination is health conscious; therefore, healthy people should not be allowed to suffer from illnesses related to vaccination in order to protect those individuals who are not that health conscious.
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On the other hand, apart from such minor side effects of vaccination as a fever and soreness, vaccination has also been associated with resultant bowel disorders and autism (Burke 10). Besides, multiple sclerosis, Asthma, and death (in case of severe allergic reaction) are also associated with vaccinations (Allen 40). It has been researched that children suffering from bowel disorders and autism have much higher levels of the so called ‘measles particles’ in the intestinal tissues than common children do. Hence, vaccination should not be mandatory.
Besides, religious exemptions should be considered here, as vaccination can be contrary to some religious sects. Religious objections should not be ignored as it is important to the larger society. It is not right to force other religion to compromise beliefs just because of medical explanations or perception of issues. While vaccines certainly have their place, they are not the answers to everything, and sometimes they are the cause of problems with our immune systems. As such, vaccination should never be forced. The solution to this is a fully informed consent based on carefully analyzed scientific research. The approach of vaccinating everyone for everything is the unfortunate side effect of governments mandate to eradicate infectious diseases. This is a result of being ignorant of the fact that not all diseases are infectious, and that the long-term effects of vaccinations are still poorly understood.
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Thus, vaccination should only be recommended, suggested or incentivized. This is because statistics show that most people have been vaccinated without being forced; hence, there is no need to make it mandatory. In conclusion, vaccination should never be without options. People should have the freedom of whether to vaccinate their children and whether to continue with their own vaccination. It is clear that sometimes the effect of suffering from the disease equals that of vaccination. The chances of one surviving if one suffers from the disease are higher than that of one suffering when vaccinated. This is partially can be explained by the assumption that when one is not vaccinated, then he/she has an idea of what he/she is suffering from. In addition, people generally put more value upon their liberty rather than on the safety from a possible but not guaranteed danger.
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