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Hailey Maresh

Issue Report

10-10-2019

A simple question: should one vaccinate one’s child? A question that, in this time in society, can

spark a bigger debate than one would expect. In the past it wasn’t a question whether parents should or

should not vaccinate their kids; it was just something that most parents did. Although, lately, there have

been controversies and arguments over whether or not vaccinating children is the right thing to do,

even going as far as people starting “anti-vaxx movements.”

Why would people do this? The main purpose of a vaccine is to build up immunity against a

certain strain of bacteria or virus to protect the body from a full on attack from a deadly disease it may

encounter later on. The CDC explains how the vaccine uses a small amount of antigens of a disease to

disperse into the body that way the immunity can build up a resistance to that small amount and be able

to fight it off if someone were to come in contact with it again. Babies are born with a not-so-strong

immune system and need the extra help from vaccines to fight off some particularly deadly diseases

(CDC).

Almost any doctor asked will say yes to vaccinating children, to them it’s a no-brainer. They will

argue that diseases like polio and smallpox were almost completely eradicated due to parents

vaccinating their children. They even stopped vaccinating for smallpox because the disease was

eradicated completely from the use of vaccines and was no longer a threat since 1977 (“Pros & Cons”).

The CDC estimated that “732,000 American children were saved from death and 322 million cases of

childhood illnesses were prevented between 1994 and 2014 due to vaccinations” (“Pros & Cons”). The
more kids that get vaccinated, the stronger “herd immunity is”, basically meaning that as the number of

kids getting vaccinated increases, the likelihood of a disease spreading through a community decreases

(VNA & Hospice). While some parents who are against vaccines may use the argument that vaccines can

cause their kids to have bad reactions, doctors counter-argue that side effects are very rare from getting

vaccinated, and the few times reactions do occur, are usually very mild, and parents would still rather

have their child have a rare chance of getting a reaction to a vaccine v.s. them dying from the measles

being left unvaccinated (“Pros & Cons”). It is up to the parents to decide on whether or not they want to

deal with the possibility of a small reaction, or a disease outbreak like measles or the flu (Mckee).

Although there are many reasons as to why vaccines are a good thing, there are also a few cons.

Now while most parents understand that vaccines are a must and it’s just a little shot, others see it as

unnecessarily poking and jabbing their kids with needles, and don’t want to inflict pain on their children

if they don’t absolutely have too (Pros & Cons). Of course, with any other medication there’s always a

risk for a reaction or side effect. This is the same for vaccines; while chances of reaction are very rare,

they are not entirely impossible. “About 30,000 cases of adverse reactions to vaccines have been

reported annually to the VAERS since 1990, with 10-15% classified as serious” (“Pros & Cons”). Some

will also argue that vaccines contain harmful ingredients such as thimerosal, a common ingredient some

vaccines that have been linked to autism (“Pros & Cons”). Natural immunity is arguably better than

vaccinated immunity as well; the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia stated that “It is true that natural

infection almost always causes better immunity than vaccines” (Mckee).

The “Anti-Vaxx” movement is becoming an increasingly popular thing today in society. Whether

it’s just because more parents are believing that vaccines do more harm than good, or if they’re just

jumping on the band-wagon to follow the crowd. One of their reasonings behind being ant-vaccinated

may lie in their religious or ethical beliefs, where vaccinating goes against their religion or practice. Just

like some religious beliefs keep people from getting blood or other medical treatments, some also
refuse the use of vaccines (Mckee). The biggest argument this movement ensues is probably the

argument that vaccines cause autism. This took flight when a British surgeon claimed that autism was

linked to certain vaccines when supposedly a few test subjects started showing autism like symptoms

(Trumpfan). After this theory arose parents took it and ran, even though it wasn’t scientifically backed

up and later on was accused of being falsified(“Pros & Cons”). Still, parents clung to this as one of the

main reasons why children shouldn’t be vaccinated. Other parents will also argue that vaccines “infringe

upon constitutional freedoms” meaning that, if the US wanted too, they can legally require children to

be vaccinated for things like public school, but are not usually enforced because of religious beliefs

(“Pros & Cons”). People in this movement will make the argument that vaccines are not part of a natural

immunity and they’re just pumping chemicals into children’s bodies that they may not even need during

their life.

It’s almost funny how a shot can cause so much debate. While there are both positives and

negatives to getting children vaccinated, it lies clear, that each person should be the only ones deciding

whether children get vaccinated or not. There are various medical reasons as to why vaccines are a good

idea and why every child should receive them; while on the other hand there’s also religious and

personal reasons why a parent may reject them. Either way a parent chooses, it is up to them to

properly educate themselves before making their decision for their children. They have to decide for

themselves if their reasoning to vaccinate or not to vaccinate is the right thing to do, and they’re not just

doing it because that’s what their “mom group” on Facebook told them to do.
Works Cited

“Making the Vaccine Decision: Common Concerns | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

https://www..gov/vacccdcines/parents/why-vaccinate/vaccine-decision.html.

McKee, Chephra, and Kristin Bohannon. “Exploring the Reasons Behind Parental Refusal of

Vaccines.” The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics : JPPT : the

Official Journal of PPAG, Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group, 2016,

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4869767/.

“Myths & Truths About Child Vaccinations Revealed.” VNA & Hospice, 2 May 2018,

https://ccvna.com/myths-truths-about-child-vaccinations-revealed/.

“Pros and Cons of Compulsory Vaccinations.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and

Media, 8 Apr. 2019, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/vaccinations-measles-

mumps-antivaxxer-compulsory-a8849671.html.

“Pros & Cons - ProCon.org.” Vaccines, https://vaccines.procon.org/.

Trumpfan, Donald, et al. “To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate? Searching for a Verdict in the

Vaccination Debate.” Science in the News, 5 Dec. 2017,

http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/to-vaccinate-or-not-to-vaccinate-searching-for-a-

verdict-in-the-vaccination-debate/.