Ezekiel and 19th centuries, smallpox immunization led to

Ezekiel
Emanuel stated, “Vaccines are the most cost-effective health care interventions
there are. A dollar spent on a childhood vaccination not only helps save a
life, but greatly reduces spending on future healthcare.” Even though vaccines
have become a staple of modern society there are still individuals who choose
not to vaccinate their children prior to attending public school. Mandatory
vaccinations for children attending public schools is the best solution to
reduce high medical cost and protect school children who are unable to be
vaccinated due to health conditions such as HIV infections and children
receiving cancer treatments.

            Although vaccinations did not become widely available
until the 1920s, immunization goes back hundreds of years. According to
immune.org, Buddhist monks drank snake venom to create an immunity to snakes and
variolation was practiced in China in the 17th century. In the West
in 1796, Edward Jenner inoculated a thirteen-year-old boy with cowpox and
exhibited immunity to smallpox. Due to this, Jenner was considered to be the
founder. In 1798, the first smallpox vaccine was developed. In the 18th
and 19th centuries, smallpox immunization led to its elimination in
1979. In 1897 through 1904, Louis Pasteur’s, a French biologist, microbiologist,
and chemist, experiments pathed the way for the development of the cholera
vaccine. Pasteur’s studies also led to an inactivated anthrax vaccine. From1890
and 1950, the development of bacterial vaccinations expanded. The inactivation
of the tetanus toxin was perfected by Alexander Glenny. His method was used to
create a vaccine against diphtheria. From 1950 to 1985, viral tissue cultures
led to the development of the Sabin polio vaccine and the Salk polio vaccine. Polio
immunization led to its elimination in many areas around the world. Strains of
rubella, mumps, and measles were also developed to be included in vaccines.
Currently, measles is the next for elimination due to vaccination. Vaccination
is a miracle of modern medicine. Compared to other medical products,
vaccinations are responsible for saving more lives worldwide over the previous
50 years.

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Massachusetts
was the first state to pass a law requiring vaccination against smallpox in
1809 and since then vaccination laws have become a controversial topic and it
continues to be fought over in courts. While there is no federal vaccination
law currently, all fifty states have laws requiring children to be vaccinated
against certain diseases including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles,
and rubella. Forty-seven of those states allow exceptions on the grounds of
religion and seventeen allow philosophical exemptions. In most states a
requirement of written proof from a health care provider that vaccinations were
given must be met. Unless there is a valid objection or a medical condition is
present, children who fail to become vaccinated are not allowed in school.
Medical exemptions are allowed in all states. Some exemptions are a child with
a compromised immune system, any allergy to ingredients in vaccines, or other
chronic or severe illnesses. Every state except for West Virginia and
Mississippi allow religious objections to immunization. Less than half of the
states allow parents who do not believe in the need, safety, or effectiveness
the ability to ask for exemption based on philosophical objection. These
parents who ask for exemption based on religion or philosophical objection are
required to give schools a written form explaining their objections to
immunizing their child. In some situations, schools will not honor these
objections.

 

                Even
though inactivated, the injection of a potentially harmful virus may sound
scary and unthinkable to some, but there are several benefits to vaccinations. Contrary
to common belief, vaccinations are not harmful. They are actually safe and
effective. They are carefully reviewed by doctors, scientists, and the federal
government. Vaccine safety has received more public attention than vaccine
effectiveness, but experts have shown that vaccines are safer than therapeutic
medicines.  Even though several
infectious disease cases have declined in the states, they are still common in
other countries. Due to this, these diseases can be brought to the states by
international travelers and are still pose a threat. Vaccinations can prevent
the spread of those diseases and prevent further epidemics. Being vaccinated can
protect an individual from possible complications such as amputation, paralysis,
brain damage, and even death when a vaccine-prevented disease is present. Diseases
can become eradicated due to immunization. Also, it is cheaper to prevent a
disease via vaccination than it is to treat it if infected. Vaccines can also
reduce the need for antibiotics which in turn reduces the likelihood of
antibiotic resistance.  Vaccines can even
increase life expectancy. According to WHO, elderly individuals who were given
the influenza vaccine in the Unites States had approximately 20% less chance of
suffering from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and 50% lower risk of
mortality from all causes compared to those who remained unvaccinated.

            If an individual chooses not to vaccinate themselves or
their children, there are related risks. The possibility of death is not the
only consequence to refusing vaccinations. An unvaccinated individual could be put
at risk. Unvaccinated individuals can require treatment that is less common and
medical staffs can be less familiar and experienced with the procedures
required to treat them appropriately. Pregnancy can be complicated if a woman
contracts a vaccine-prevented disease due to skipping vaccinations. A woman who
becomes infected with a vaccine-prevented disease while pregnant may have a
child with heart defects, developmental delays, or deafness. People who choose
not to vaccinate their children not only put their child at risk but also
others at risks if their child becomes ill. There are also social implications
of not getting vaccinated. If sick or exposed to a disease, individuals may be
isolated from others. If there is an outbreak within a community, children may
be removed from schools and other activities. A child’s inability to attend
school or go about their daily routine may also affect the parent’s ability to
work which could harm their income.

            There are side effects to any medical procedure or
treatment. A common reason individuals choose not to vaccinate their children
is due to the theory that vaccinations can cause defects such as autism. The
issue on vaccines causing autism date back to the 1990s. A 2013 CDC study added
to previous research showing vaccines do not cause autism. Several studies have
shown that disorders are due to both genetic factors and environmental factors.
Researchers continue to examine the relationship but there is no evidence that
vaccinations play a role in autism development.  The relationship between vaccinations and
certain neuropsychiatric diseases is one of coincidence rather than
causality. 

            There are people from around the world who chose not to
vaccinate their children and later regretted it. One person, Sophie Heawood,
wrote an article on how she wishes she would have vaccinated her daughter. She
admits to being one of the many people who refused to have her child vaccinated
for anything. She recalls thinking that her daughter could not possible
contract any of the diseases the doctors wanted to vaccinate her for. She
believed, like so many, that her child would build up a strong immune system
all of her own without being interfered with by immunizations. Her thoughts
changed when her daughter caught pertussis commonly known as whooping cough.
This meant months of pain for her daughter. Pertussis is a highly contagious
disease that comes in stages. Ms. Heawood recalls her daughter’s hacking cough
that kept her awake all night. She also explains how disgusting it was for her
to watch her child needlessly suffer. Although Ms. Heawood still “feels funny”
about vaccinations she explains she feels even funnier about her children or
anyone else’s children dying from a vaccine-prevented disease.

            All of this simply boils down to my own personal opinion.
I believe all children, adults, teens, and healthcare workers should be
vaccinated. It’s my opinion that choosing not to vaccinate a child is reckless.
Not only is that child vulnerable to contract illnesses that people have worked
so endlessly to eradicate, but other people are also at risk. If an
unvaccinated child contracts a preventable disease, and before it is known to
the parent’s, spends the day at a local playground then any child that comes in
contact with the affected individual becomes exposed. While everyone reacts
differently, it only takes one infected person to fatally infect another. Like
stated, there is no federal law requiring immunization and some states allow
exemptions, not all individuals choose to exempt their child’s vaccinations. My
personal belief is that there should not be any exemptions from vaccinations.
One person may choose to take their chances with becoming ill, but why should
they also be allowed to make decisions for other individuals? In my perspective
allowing individuals to choose whether or not they vaccinate their children is
ultimately allowing them to make that choice for everyone else. While everyone
wants the right to do with their bodies as they please, they should not have
the right to potentially endanger someone else’s life.

            While vaccinations have their benefits, and have been
practiced for centuries, there are still weary individuals in the world who
argue against the research and choose the other way. While it’s not illegal to
refuse vaccinations based on certain stand points, I feel it is careless to
remain unvaccinated. I honestly believe the benefits of immunization will
always outweigh any reason for exemption.

                 

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