Another diseases cause to people’s health, it is

Another key element that is important in
helping parents make more informed choices on whether or not to vaccinate their
children is knowing the benefits that vaccines provide. Vaccines are one of the
safest and most effective medical products available and help to prevent the
deaths of millions of people each year by protecting them from vaccine-preventable
illnesses. Vaccine- preventable diseases are still present in the United States
and can be deadly.  Even people who are
considered to be young and healthy are at risk of catching these diseases.
Vaccine-preventable illnesses can be deadly: “in the US, vaccine-preventable
infections kill more individuals annually than HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, or
traffic accidents. Approximately 50,000 adults die each year from
vaccine-preventable diseases in the US” (“Top Reasons”). In addition to the
devastation diseases cause to people’s health, it is expensive and time-consuming
to treat these vaccine-preventable illnesses. Society spends an upwards of $10
billion dollars a year on direct and indirect costs for treating vaccine-preventable
illnesses. These illnesses can be very time consuming to treat. For example,
“an average influenza illness can last up to 15 days, typically with five or
six missed work days” (“Top Reasons”). This means that not only do families
have to spend money to treat vaccine-preventable illnesses if their children
become ill, their children would miss valuable time in school and their parents
would possibly need to take time off of work to take care for them. Knowing the
benefits that vaccines provide individuals and the knowledge that
vaccine-preventable illnesses are not only time consuming to treat but are also
expensive can help influence parents’ decisions when it comes to vaccinating
their children.

addition to the benefits vaccines provide individuals, including keeping
individuals safe from diseases, vaccines help to protect the community. If a
majority of the population is vaccinated, most of the community is protected
from the disease, lowering the chances of an outbreak (“Community Immunity”). This
is often called herd immunity (“Community Immunity”). This helps protect
members of the community who cannot be vaccinated, such as “infants, pregnant
women, or immunocompromised individuals—get some protection because the spread
of contagious disease is contained” (“Community Immunity”). The percentage of
people vaccinated to achieve herd immunity is specific for each disease and is
called herd threshold (Willingham and Helft). For example, the threshold to
prevent measles is 83-94% and the threshold to prevent pertussis (more commonly
known as whooping cough) is 92-94% (Willingham and Helft). Understanding the
benefits of vaccinations is important to help both sides make more informed
choices about vaccinating their children. The knowledge of the benefits
vaccinations provide is one the most critical points in the arguments for
vaccinations, since it provides parents opposed to vaccinations evidence of just
how important vaccines are to keeping their children happy and healthy.

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Many people believe that they should not
vaccinate their children out of fear that vaccines have harmful side effects.
Much of this concern comes from a since discredited article by Andrew
Wakefield, which was published in the Lancet in 1998. This study suggested that
there was a link between the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.
However, this study was discredited because Wakefield fabricated some of the
data and failed to reveal conflicts of interest, resulting in the paper being
withdrawn and Wakefield losing his license to practice medicine. Since this
study 14 studies that involved millions of children have failed to show a link
between autism and the MMR vaccine. Although it has been discredited, this
study still continues to cause fear of vaccines in many parents. According to
an article titled “America’s Vaccine Dilemma” “some parents—propelled by
misinformation—have come to fear vaccines more than the diseases they prevent”
(“Americas Vaccine”). This misinformation about the safety concerns of vaccines
leads parents to not vaccinate their children. By not vaccinating their
children, parents feel they are making the best decision in keeping their kids

While many people base their opinion to
vaccinate their children on misinformation, there have been instances of
vaccines causing serious side-effects, such as life-threatening allergic
reactions. According to the Government of Western Australia Department of
Health some rare reactions to vaccines include: anaphylaxis which is a sudden
severe allergic reaction, seizures, and intussusception “an uncommon form of
bowel obstruction where one segment of the bowel slides into the next, much
like the pieces of a telescope,” which can occur as a result of the rotavirus
vaccine (“Possible Side”). There are numerous stories online, mostly from
non-credible sources that detail negative reactions children have had to
vaccines and the devastating impact it had on their lives. Information and
stories about the rare and dangerous reactions vaccines can cause have
influenced the decision of many parents not to have their children vaccinated
and believe this is the best decision to protect their child’s health.

On the other hand, many people believe
that vaccines are essential for the health of their children. According to the
article “Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child” published by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are five important
reasons to vaccinate children. The first reason is that immunizations can save
children’s lives because they help to protect them from serious diseases that
are still present. Second, vaccinations are safe and effective because
“vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by
scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals” (“Five Important”). The
third reason is that immunizations help protect others that cannot be
vaccinated due to factors like allergies to vaccinations and weakened immune
systems caused by things like cancer. This protection is often called herd
immunity and occurs when the majority of the population is vaccinated. Fourth,
by getting children vaccinated, it saves the family time and money that would
need to be spent if children were to catch a vaccine-preventable disease. The
CDC’s final reason is that vaccinations help to protect future generations by
eliminating deadly diseases. A prime example of this is the smallpox vaccine,
which eradicated the disease worldwide, resulting in children no longer needing
to be vaccinated against smallpox (“Five Important”). The reasons given by the
CDC and stated here are some of the main reasons people believe vaccinating
their children is the best option for their health.

Many opponents of the anti-vaccination
movement believe people’s fear of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine has
lead to a decrease in people receiving this vaccine and an increase in
outbreaks, particularly measles. In 2000, the United States declared themselves
to be measles-free, thanks to the effectiveness of the measles vaccine (“Public
Health”). However, this did not last long as measles are still problematic in
the United States thanks to the disease still being present in other parts of
the world and travelers from other parts of the world bringing measles with
them to the United States (“Public Health”). Measles are very contagious, one
person can spread the disease to around 90% of the people they come in contact
with and it can be deadly, with approximately 1 in 2 people out of 1,000 dying
as a result of the disease (“Public Health”). One of the largest outbreaks of a
vaccine-preventable illness was a measles outbreak in late 2014 to early 2015
linked to a Disneyland Park in California (“Public Health”). This resulted in a
multi-state health problem with 147 cases reported in seven different states,
as well as in Canada and Mexico (“Public Health”). The majority of the people
affected were not vaccinated (“Public Health”). Another major outbreak of
measles in the United States was in Minnesota, which began in April of 2017 and
the outbreak was officially declared over in August of 2017 (“Health
Officials”). This outbreak affected 79 people, 73 of them being children under
the age of 10, and 71 of the people affected were unvaccinated (“Health
Officials”). This outbreak hit Minneapolis’ Somali community particularly hard
with 64 of the 79 cases being within the community, where only approximately
42% of Somali Minnesotan two-year-olds were vaccinated with the measles, mumps,
rubella vaccine, allowing the disease to quickly spread amongst the community
(“Health Officials”). These measles outbreaks have caused many to fear for the
safety of their children and have helped influence many people to vaccinate
their children to help protect them.

Many believe there are serious
consequences to not vaccinating children. One of the primary reasons they
believe vaccinations are so important is because diseases haven’t disappeared.
If all parents decided to stop vaccinating their children, diseases that were
almost unheard of today would make a comeback and result in hundreds of
thousands of people getting sick and thousands of people dying. A prime example
of this occurring was in Japan in the 1970s. In 1974, around 80% of Japanese
children were vaccinated with the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine and there
were only 393 cases of whooping cough in the whole country with no deaths.
Then, the vaccination rates dropped to about 10%. This resulted in a major
whooping cough outbreak in 1979 in which more than 13,000 people got whooping
cough and 41 died as a result (“What Would”). This occurrence in Japan leaves
many fearful that a case similar to the outbreaks in Japan can happen in the
United States if the vaccination rates continue to decline and have helped
parents to make the decision to vaccinate their children.

The debate about whether children should
be vaccinated or not continues to be a hot topic. Either parents vaccinate
their children or not, but both sides are doing what they feel is in the best
interest of their children.  All the
arguments provided against vaccinating children are to make sure that children
are safe and protected from the potentially harmful side effects of vaccines,
and the arguments supporting vaccinations are to help ensure the health of
individual children and the community. Looking out for the health of children
is the main focus of both sides of the vaccination debate. Whether children are
vaccinated or not both have similar interests. Both want their children to be
healthy and happy.

The best way for parents to ensure the
health of their children is to research facts about vaccines and understand how
they work. Parents are allowed to make their own decisions about whether they
vaccinate their children or not and should be able to do so without facing
criticism from other parents. However, if a parent decides not to vaccinate their
children, they need to acknowledge that by doing so they are putting the health
of their child and the health of other children at risk. In cases of disease
outbreaks in schools, children who are not vaccinated should be required to
stay home to help prevent the further spread of disease. Parents who vaccinate
their children and are opposed to the idea of parents not vaccinating their
children should try to understand other parents’ point of view and help to
educate them using facts as opposed to harsh criticism, which can result in
both sides becoming defensive and no change made. If both sides work to
understand each other’s point of view, they can work to find compromises to the
debate about vaccines.


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