Vaccination for Children Should Be Made Mandatory
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Nowadays, the issue of childhood vaccination and parental decision making in regard to the parents’ choice if to allow the vaccination of their children or not takes great attention and anxiety. The continuous debate about parental choice of vaccination is connected with the parents’ anxiety about their children’s health and welfare. Great attention is paid to the study of psychosocial factors influencing parental decision making concerning the vaccination of their children. Another question interesting the scientists concerns the methods of parental choice and the ways of the risks assessment.
The first mass antivaccination movement started in the 1830s after vaccination of initial generation and a remarkable decrease of smallpox incidence in Europe and the United States. Sometimes, the antivaccination movement was based upon the idea that vaccination was the intrusion of people’s private life and physical integrity. In 1905, the U.S. Supreme court ruled that the necessity of public health protection by means of compulsory vaccination against smallpox outweighed the privacy rights of individuals. Until recently, historical research highlighted the antivaccination movement as antiscientific and irrational (Stern & Markel, 2005).
However, nowadays there is a point that antivaccinationists behaved taking into account all the pros and cons of vaccination, its positive and negative influences on the person. The passage of National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986, which was in charge of parents who were greatly troubled by the probable interrelation between vaccination and some neurological problems, showed that scientists and government were extremely concerned with the issue of beneficial and harmful effects of vaccination (Stern & Markel, 2005).
For the last several years, parents and their legal advocacy organizations raised a very important question concerning the direct link between an obvious increase of autism and the preservative thimerosal, which was applied in vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, hepatitis B, etc. Thou several scientific studies proved that there is no connection between autism and thimerosal, in 1999, an association of U.S. Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration, and the American Academy of Pediatrics ceased to license vaccines containing thimerosal.
The causal link between autism and the MMR vaccine has also been alleged several times. Not surprisingly, claims that vaccination of children can lead to developmental disorders caused anxiety among parents. Therefore, American parents need to receive more detailed information about the lack of a link between neurological disorders in vaccinated children and MMR or thimerosal by means of recent researches from medical journals. However, it is obvious that the antivaccination movement and parent’s concern about whether to vaccinate their children or not will not fade away at the nearest time due to the latest medical and political debates about this issue (Stern & Markel, 2005).
In the United States, the issue of childhood vaccination is very acute today. American immunologists concluded that the safety and efficiency of vaccines among children and adolescents are in contradiction. The conflict is that the more effective the vaccine, the more complications it has. Hence, there are no safe and completely effective vaccines. Thus, vaccines may extremely affect children and adolescents. First of all, vaccines, especially live vaccines, make children the carriers of causative agents for the term of life. Attenuated or live viruses are able to mutate, causing those diseases against which vaccination was made (“Possible Side-Effects From Vaccines,” 2013).
Some vaccines are synthesized using cells of animals, for example, guinea pig embryo in the virus against chickenpox; and the administration of foreign DNA into the human body can lead to unpredictable consequences. Proof lifelong immunity is replaced by artificial short-lived immunity. Thus, the depletion of immunity occurs and, as a result, more serious diseases, including oncology, emerge. Vaccinations also shift children’s disease at a later age, when these diseases are carried heavier, thus, increasing their risk.
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Besides, vaccines provoke the occurrence of complications and other serious diseases, because some of them contain toxic ingredients, such as thimerosal (mercury compound; autism has symptoms of mercury poisoning), aluminum hydroxide, which causes Alzheimer’s disease; formaldehyde, which is very harmful to the body; and phenoxyethanol, which is known as antifreeze. Listed ingredients can provoke such diseases as bronchial asthma, allergies, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, autism, etc in children and adolescents (“Possible Side-Effects From Vaccines,” 2013).
Parents are able to decide whether to vaccinate their children or not. However, parents’ decision impacts both their family in general and the health of others. A single-shot exposure to infection may cause several complications for the family and the surrounding community of an unvaccinated person. Without proper vaccinations, children and their families are at great risk of the introduction of one of the vaccine-preventable infections. Fighting these diseases requires much time, pain, mandatory isolation, and money. Besides, unvaccinated families and their children are to be mandated into quarantine or isolation during disease outbreaks (“Keep These Things in Mind if You Are You Considering not Vaccinating,” 2008).
Unvaccinated children must be excluded from childcare or school or interaction with other people until the end of the outbreak. These families may be required to stay in their houses until receiving public or medical health clearances. Moreover, parents also should vaccinate themselves in order to provide them and their children with protection. Due to the fact that many adults’ vaccines received in childhood tend to weaken and require revaccination, in some cases, parents can unknowingly transmit diseases to their unvaccinated children. Thus, timely vaccination of children and all members of the family can prevent them from catching extremely dangerous diseases and long-time isolation and treatment (“Keep These Things in Mind if You Are You Considering not Vaccinating,” 2008).
Since teachers and other school staff constantly communicate with children, CDPH recommends them to receive the vaccination, for example, the Tdap vaccine, if they have not received it before. In such a way, school staff will be protected from the threat of pertussis and protect their contacts with others, including infants that barely transfer pertussis and can even be at risk of dying (“Tdap Requirement: FAQ for Schools & Providers,” 2013). Besides, according to recent news, if the government accepts the recommendation concerning the enforcement of parents to provide the required immunization information of their children to early childhood schools or centers, the teachers will be confused, because they will become the enforcers of this compulsory policy. Moreover, constrained children vaccination will cause the same discrimination among teachers (“Teachers,” 2012).
Childcare workers who work in childcare centers are especially at a high risk of contact with various infections and bacterias. In this regard, they should be familiar with vaccines including MMR, Td, Tdap, influenza, varicella, and hepatitis B vaccines. Due to the fact that infants are extremely sensitive to complications and death from pertussis, childcare workers must receive a single dose of the Tdap vaccine. Besides, children who are infected with the virus of hepatitis A commonly have no symptoms of the disease, but in adults, this infection leads to the severe and sometimes fatal disease of the liver. Thus, childcare workers are recommended to receive an additional dose of the hepatitis A vaccine (Offit, 2013).
The anxiety that is caused by vaccination among children and parents is quite a normal phenomenon. Psychologists associate this anxiety with so-called “Refrigerator-Mother Syndrome” because mothers being ruled by the necessity of vaccination make their children were withdrawn and autistic. However, this statement is still not proved by researches, since the phenomenon of autism is faced only ones among normal children. Nevertheless, psychologists sometimes miss the fact that children suffer autism not because of their mothers’strictness but because of the doctors, who can afflict children. Thus, in several cases, psychologists are also embarrassed because of the parents’ decision making whether to vaccinate children or not (Hoffbrand, 2011).
In the nearest future, various ad hoc committees will conduct broad ethical, methodological, and design expertise in order to study ethical issues, strengths and weaknesses, and such opportunities as costs and timelines of various scientific studies. This will help to examine and explain after-effects in unvaccinated children and adolescents, consequences of delay of vaccination, and results of proper children vaccination. The process is supposed to be transparent and open and involves experts and patients from various sectors. Besides, the feasibility study of the issue will conduct various biomedical researches that will include animal studies and laboratory studies (Pavia, 2009).
Future researches on the issue of childhood vaccination decision making will develop study designs that will compare children who are not vaccinated due to their parents’ intention with children vaccinated due to proper immunization schedules and partially vaccinated children. Future studies will evaluate both the possibility to include metabolic disorders and immunity biomarkers and the results of this experiment including autism, asthma, allergies, immune-mediated diseases, intellectual and learning disabilities, and different developmental disabilities, for example, epilepsy (Pavia, 2009).
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Since parents worldwide are greatly confused with the issue of their children's vaccination, the experts are seeking all the possible ways to fight this anxiety. In this regard, when the pediatrician faces the parents who decide not to vaccinate their children, he or she should respectfully and carefully listen to them and accept the fact that parents may have quite another point of view. Taking into account that almost all vaccines may cause negative effects on children, the pediatrician should honestly inform parents about the benefits and possible risks of vaccines and correct any misinformation and misperceptions. Several data-based and reputable Web sites are created in order to provide parents additional information about certain diseases and vaccines that are aimed to prevent these infectious diseases.
Parents may also be concerned about administering multiple vaccines to their children in one go. Thus, several attempts are taken in order to reduce the pain that is caused by the injection. In another case, a specific vaccination schedule that suggests multiple injections at a few visits can be developed. Doctors have also to take into account that the costs of vaccinations can serve as a reason for immunization rejection. Families in which a child has no sufficient insurance coverage of preventive care or administrative costs for immunization may face real obstacles. Thus, the doctor has to work with such families in order to choose appropriate vaccines and receive them (Diekema, 2005).
Summing up all the abovementioned information, one can say that childhood vaccination should be mandatory. Taking into account the ethical aspects of mandatory children vaccination, the opportunity of free choice should be weighed against the whole society benefits from compulsory vaccination. The majority of parents consider vaccination as beneficial to childhood immunization. However, many parents believe that vaccination creates risks for their children. Thus, doctors have to educate parents about the pros and cons, risks and advantages, contradictions and signs of vaccinations so that the parents could make the right choice for their children.
Providing the counterbalanced idea of proofs of immunization advantages, doctors and other healthcare workers can help parents to make correct decisions concerning the health care of their children. Actually, there are no absolutely safe vaccines, and they can cause side effects. Thus, it is important to estimate each certain child and each separate vaccine and then to allow parents to solve after proper consideration of all facts whether to vaccinate children or not.
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