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Vaccination is principally the administration of vaccines (antigenic material) in order to stimulate the immune system of an individual to build up the system’s adaptive immunity to a pathogen. These vaccines greatly ameliorate or prevent morbidity from an infection. Vaccination’s effectiveness has been under study and review widely; for instance, the chicken pox, HPV, and influenza vaccine have been studied and verified as the most efficient way to prevent infectious diseases linked to them. Vaccination is largely responsible for the increased immunity, which has eventually led to the widespread eradication of diseases such as smallpox, polio, tetanus, and measles from the major part of the world. In the historical perspective, vaccines have been considered as weapons used for fighting infectious and dangerous diseases such as polio, smallpox, and yellow fever. Nonetheless, as communicable diseases preventable by vaccines remain a current health problem, new health strategies are needed to ensure vaccination of the target population.
Benefits of Vaccinations
It has been known for a long time saying that prevention is better than cure. Indeed, it is better to prevent a disorder as compared to treating it. It is because of vaccinations that one of the terrible disorders such as smallpox no longer exists in history. Throughout the years, vaccines have prevented numerous diseases and saved thousands of lives. Vaccine preventable diseases such as polio, pertussis, whooping cough, and measles could be deadly if there were no vaccines. On the other hand, other vaccine preventable disorders may not be deadly, but could leave a person disabled or disfigured for life. Vaccine-preventable disorders are considered quite harmful. Each year, there are reports of cases in the USA where adults have died from vaccine preventable diseases (Roush & Murphy, 2007).
Even if some of the children or adults may be able to survive some of the diseases such as measles, it may leave them visually impaired once they are attacked. Women who are afflicted with measles within their early moments of pregnancy are at an increased risk of bearing a child with heart problems, blindness, and other defects. Administration of vaccination before pregnancy is poised to prevent this.
For long, vaccines have proven to be effective in preventing diseases. It is strongly recommended that all children be immunized. For instance, vaccines for Hepatitis HPV and hepatitis B reduce cancer risks caused by such a virus (Largent, 2012). In the event that vaccination is stopped, there is a possibility that diseases that had diminished would reemerge. Epidemics of diseases that are today under control would be revived. This implies that there would be more children getting sick, as well as others dying.
|Another concern for the necessity of vaccination is that although cases of vaccine preventable diseases have declined, some of these disorders are actually common in other nations and are brought to the USA by migrants (Largent, 2012). If vaccination stopped, then it would be possible for them to catch the diseases from migrants while travelling.|
Vaccinations present an effective and critical way of preventing infectious diseases. It is also the most effective way of reducing mortality and morbidity in decreasing infectious diseases in the global perspective. This presents the reason why many nations in the world have incorporated vaccination programs. As it was earlier pointed out, the elimination of smallpox in the world presents a most effective example on the essence of immunization. Many other diseases, which had been a cause for concern during the seventeen century, had been overcome through vaccination. Countries with inadequate measures of vaccinations and those with low rate of immunization have also high prevalence of vaccination preventable diseases occur.
Although some people may argue that there are associated risks in vaccinations, and serious reactions only occur in sporadic cases. Moreover, vaccination itself cannot be the cause of the diseases that it is intended to prevent. On the other hand, children who are not vaccinated could be a source of contagious diseases for other children who may be sensitive when given an infection.
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The bacteria and viruses that cause death and illnesses are still extant and could be passed on those who have not been immunized. When people travel to other parts of the world, it is very easy for contagious diseases to spread very quickly (Sugarman, 2007). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other health care entities have recommended regular vaccinations to an individual throughout his or her life to prevent various infections. When one skips vaccinations, he or she makes himself vulnerable to such ailments as influenza, pneumococcal diseases, shingles, hepatitis B, HPV, and other leading causes of cancer.
Vaccines can be compared to exercises and diet in maintaining the general health of an individual. In other words, they cannot be avoided. Just like eating healthy food, regular check-ups, and exercises, vaccines play a critical role in ensuring that one is healthy. Moreover, vaccines offer the safest and most convenient means of preventing care possible.
Developed countries such as the USA have the best surveillance mechanisms in ensuring that all vaccines are safe (Largent, 2012). Furthermore, a number of medical investigators also agree on the safety of these vaccines. Prior to being utilized by the users, all vaccines have to be duly tested and checked by relevant bodies and personnel. There is also no vaccine that causes diseases. Most of these vaccines contain “dead” virus, and it is not possible to obtain a disease from them. On the other hand, there are vaccines that contain live, but weak viruses designed to ensure that they do not cause a disease once in an individual’s body. Although children and the elderly are at greater risk for complications and serious risks, anyone can be struck by vaccine preventable disorders. For young and healthy individuals, being vaccinated is the best way of maintaining that health.
Vaccine preventable diseases may destabilize the social order and the normal life of an individual. For instance, a typical influenza illness may take more than two weeks to be cured with an average of five to six days of missed work. On the other hand, an attack by hepatitis B could make one lose more than one month at work. The same case is children who may have to miss some school days or fail to do their responsibilities because of the vaccine preventable diseases (Sugarman, 2007).
Arguments against Vaccination
Despite the impeccable benefits of vaccinations, several counterarguments against vaccination and its effectiveness have risen over the last few years, claiming that vaccination is not effective and that it negatively influences the system instead of protecting it from diseases.
Many parents in the USA are convinced that vaccination is harmful to their kids; although this aspect has no scientific basis. From their concerns, autism happens to be the main cause of worry for the majority of such parents. The perception is also related with the issue that at present, children now get twice the number of vaccines they used to get some twenty years ago. In addition, these children can receive more than 20 injections just on the first day of their lives. According to such parents, the increased vaccination and injections are among other factors to blame for increased rate of autism and other disorders for these children. However, one has to ponder on what happens when parents refuse to immunize their children against serious diseases such as rubella, mumps, and measles. Indeed, there are some regions of the country where parents avoid immunization of their children, delaying some shots or skipping some of them altogether. Among the issues cited as some of the reasons for doing so are philosophical exemptions of state laws that require each child to be vaccinated before beginning schooling and religious principles.
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With the cases of H1N1 and Influenza being all over the media in 2009, there had been a lot of misinformation regarding the vaccine and the virus. Several people argued that the new vaccine for H1N1 swine flu was fast-tracked through its production process and did not therefore undergo adequate testing. The truth is that the vaccine underwent the same process as seasonal flu vaccine (Largent, 2012). There is also an outstanding argument against the use of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil. The argument against its use seems to be its link of more than 55 deaths in 2009 in America. This was reported to the vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS). Out of these, 30 of the deaths were confirmed to have occurred due to the vaccine, but after investigation, no casual link to the vaccine was found (Plotkin, 2006). Another post-market surveillance study conducted by CDC observed that the rate of deaths that were reported was 0.1 for every 100,000 of distributed doses. They concluded that reported adverse events never differed from other vaccines in general. Other arguments articulate that immunization with Gardasil led to fainting and other health conditions. However, just like other therapies, this is one of the side effects of Gardasil and is even stated in the packaging insert. The insert has also included recommendations that a patient has to adhere to while under the vaccine.
There are also individuals who argue that argue that cases of polio increased significantly upon the introduction of the polio vaccine. Moreover, such individuals express the opinion that the rate of polio prior to the beginning of the vaccine was moderately low as compared to the rates at which polio went up after polio vaccine was launched. They state that oral polio vaccine spread in a short period of time the polio disease, and there was a reduction in the disease cases prior to the introduction of the vaccine. However, as it can be imagined, this articulation is never true. Before the vaccine was introduced, more than 17,000 individuals were struck by paralytic polio annually in the USA. Upon its introduction, these cases reduced to 2,520 per year. Since the eradication of the wild type polio, the less effective inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is now being used in the place of the Oral Polio Vaccine. This IPV version does not cause paralytic polio. Since the year 2000, OPV has not been in use in the USA (Plotkin, 2006).
The safety and effectiveness of a vaccine is determined by the way it is administered. This also depends on the experts involved in this administration. Wrong information regarding vaccines is issued by health agencies who are terrified of losing their clients since there would be not many people left. However, what these people should consider is that the business could instead grow because even healthy individuals would throng into their facilities.
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There is also some research evidence that postulates the risks involved in vaccinations, particularly for young people. Because of these assumptions, a number of countries have banned vaccination of children until they reach the age of 2 years. Other countries such as England, France, and Belgium have banned specific vaccines because they were found to be directly linked to autism or other disorders (Plotkin, 2006). More studies have also linked specific types of vaccines with diabetes (Sugarman, 2007). Interestingly, some opponents of vaccination have argued that the rate of diseases such as cancer have gone up threefold because of the mandatory vaccinations.
Another cause for worry for opponents of vaccination is that vaccine manufacturers have to require government immunity from being sued in the event that their products were found to be unsafe. In the USA, a vaccine producer cannot be sued; neither can a doctor nor an institution that mandates the vaccine. They ask themselves that if indeed these commodities were safe, why would they need so much protection? There is a concern that vaccines are not subjected to the same approval process as drugs before being utilized (Largent, 2012).
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Indeed, it may be true that various circumstances may not allow vaccination to take place. In the event when a child encounters severe allergic reactions, the vaccine administered should be stopped. However, it should be considered that such circumstances are rare. Moreover, the best thing to do in such situations is to inform the doctor when a child experiences severe allergic reactions for a consideration of other options. In some situations, alternative formulations do exist for children with particular allergy. For instance, if a child has cancer that affects the body’s immune system or if he is in the process of being treated with drugs that affects the body’s immune system, there could be vaccinations that the child should not be given and some that should be consulted with the doctor.
It may also be true that some diseases such as diphtheria and polio have become almost eliminated in the context of the USA. Of course, this rarity is caused by the intense vaccinations that had been done against them. Nonetheless, it is not reasonable to stop vaccinations simply because such once deadly diseases are becoming rare. An example to show this perspective could be like bailing a boat with a slow leak. When individuals started bailing out the boat, it had been filled with water. The boat was being bailed quickly and hard until it became almost dry. These people had reached a point of saying “good”, the boat is now dry, and they could go ahead, throw the bucket out, and relax. However, the leak has not stopped and before long, water will begin seeping in and will start filling as it was in the beginning.
Unless the leak is stopped completely (in other words, the disease is eliminated), it is only important that immunization continues. Despite the fact that there are few cases of diseases today, the diseases will emerge once again and more people will be afflicted if vaccination is stopped. Sooner than later, the process people had undergone over the years would have been undone.
Another thing to consider is that vaccination is not only aimed at protecting children. Rather, it also focuses on protecting grandchildren as well as their grandchildren. Using the case of smallpox, the leak in the boat had been stopped through eradication of the disease. The reason why smallpox no longer exists is that the disease had been eliminated through vaccination. If people continue vaccinating their children, future parents would develop more trust that diseases such as meningitis and polio would not cripple, infect, or kill their children. Contrary to many assumptions, vaccination is effective and safe. It should be considered that all vaccines undergo a careful and long review by doctors, scientists, and the state in making sure they are safe before being utilized by the citizens.
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Some people present arguments that improved hygiene has led to a diminishing in diseases, more moderately than vaccines. However, several diseases that are prevented by vaccines are airborne and are by no means impacted by hygiene or improved sanitation. Moreover, opponents of vaccination also want vaccines that are safe completely. This is hard, as all types of medicine carry some risk. However, the comparative risk of harm from vaccine is extensively lower than the risk that one gets from getting the disease naturally.
Vaccinations present a sure way of ending serious effects of particular diseases. Vaccination is strongly supported by many other entities such as the Academy of Family Physicians, the Academy of Pediatrics, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Moreover, vaccination offers protection for all people around, including friends, family members, and grandparents. If children are not vaccinated, they will spread diseases to others who had not yet received vaccination or those with weak immune systems, including those with chronic ailments and transplant recipients. These could lead to a longer time impact and even death of the vulnerable individuals. What is more, everybody has a commitment to individuals and communities in protecting one another by vaccinating children and family members.
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Despite evidence suggesting the significance of vaccinations, it is interesting that some people have decided not to vaccinate their children. However, this makes unvaccinated children vulnerable, including infants and the elderly at greater risk. In general, vaccination has been lauded as being one of the greatest achievements on medicine. Making assumptions that vaccination is not safe and effective could be quite dangerous for the general health of the public. In this perspective, it is recommended that regular and compulsory vaccinations should be done for all children. In fact, this should be included in the public health insurance programs in all nations. This should be done for the interest of the children’s health in the scope of the particular prevention care. It should be remembered that the international charter of children’s rights articulates that each child has a right to be protected against infectious diseases.