Vaccination is the administration of an antigenic material (vaccine) resembling a micro-organism which enables the body immune system to produce an adaptive immunity against the pathogen. Over the years, scientists have been working incredibly hard in coming up with different vaccines against pathogens causing diseases. However, vaccines have always faced opposition from people from very long time ago and continue to meet to date. Parents have been in the forefront opposing the mandatory vaccination of children. They believe the treatment decisions should be left to them to decide.
By the time children celebrate their 5th birthday, they receive approximately 20 shots of different vaccines. For this reason, some parents oppose mandatory vaccination of their children due to implications that are said to arise from the treatments. The fear of children developing autism derived from the injection of a combination of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine has been a major reason championing the mandatory vaccination of children (Link, 2005). Parents subjected to mandatory vaccination of their children argue that it's against their human right and they ought to make decisions for their children.
Immunization of children is a paramount practice. Children can gain protection against very many diseases unlike before due to advance medical science. Efficient and safe vaccination has significantly reduced diseases that used to be very dangerous in the past such as polio. In the United States, polio was once among the most feared disease causing paralysis and death in the country, but today with the help of polio vaccine there are no reports of polio.
Vaccinations save families time and money. Institutions such as school or child day care facilities deny children with vaccine-preventable diseases inoerder to prevent the spread of the disease and therefore hiring home care professionals is expensive. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can cause prolonged disabilities, and they are very expensive in treatment. These decreases are very costly to treat, and therefore efficient vaccinating of children against these diseases saves parents a lot of money.
However, several challenges can be brought about by a vaccine. Some vaccines may undergo mutations especially the live attenuated causing virulence. These modifications of vaccines take place during their transportation. A live attenuated vaccine can also cause disease in immunocompromised individuals. It is for this reason that the Salk vaccine or inactivated polio vaccine gradually replaced live oral polio virus. Improper manufacturing and storage of inactivated vaccine can also result in an emergence of infections due to an intact pathogen. Booster doses are given for inactivated vaccines since the antigens cannot replicate and therefore a periodic strengthening of the immune response is crucial (Jacob Heller, 2008).
Some vaccines may have fatal side effects such as intussusception, a type of bowel blockage that may arise from the vaccination of Rotavirus and may require acute medical interventions (Largent, 2012). These happened to quite some babies in the United States. DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccine is believed to cause side effects such as Long-term seizures, permanent brain damage, lowered consciousness, and coma. These side effects make parents fear to subject their children to some vaccines.
Even though parents believe that the decision of vaccinating their children should be left to them, it's advisable for them to submit their children to safe and effective vaccination. Proper protection of children plays a significant role in the well-being. Children vaccinated from different diseases live a healthy productive life. It also lowers financial burden incurred in treating the diseases emerging if the child wasn't vaccinated.
Heller, J. (2008). The vaccine narrative. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
Largent, M. A. (2012). Vaccine: The debate in modern America. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Link, K. (2005). The vaccine controversy: The history, use, and safety of vaccinations. Westport: Praeger Publishers.
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