Childhood Vaccinations: The Reality Behind the Debate

Topics: Vaccination, Vaccine, Autism Pages: 11 (3471 words) Published: April 17, 2013
Childhood Vaccinations

Brandi DeLuca

Bryant & Stratton College

ENGL 101

Alexis Vaughan

December 17, 2012

Childhood Vaccinations

Child vaccinations have become a huge debate with new expectant parents as well as parents who already have children. Should children be vaccinated? A great majority of pediatricians believe that yes, children should be vaccinated. However, there are many groups that disagree with vaccines because they believe vaccines are doing more harm than good. If that is the case, should we vaccinate our children? The choice to vaccinate our children is a choice every parent must make; there are many risks and side affects with every vaccine, but along with those risks comes the piece of mind knowing that our children are protected against a deadly disease.

When a child is vaccinated, the child is administered with a vaccine that is specially made to protect them from a particular disease. The vaccine is created by using a small piece of a microbe that is dead or very weak (Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, 2012, para. 1). By using a very small amount, it eliminates the chance of the patient getting sick. When the injection is administered, the small piece of microbe is introduced into the body’s bloodstream and into the immune system. When the two meet, the immune system creates an antibody that kills the microbe. Once that particular antibody is present within the body, it will always be on defense and ready to fight if that same microbe returns (Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, 2012, para. 1).

The first vaccine in the world’s history to be created was the smallpox vaccine in the 1790s by a man named Edward Jenner (Stern & Markel, 2005, para, 1). Jenner was a country doctor who lived in Berkeley, England. This is where Jenner administered the world’s first vaccination in 1796 (Stern & Markel, 2005, para, 6). The vaccination was created by taking pus from a cowpox lesion on a milkmaid’s hand. This vaccination was than tested on an eight-year-old named James Phipps. The child was unaffected by the vaccine and showed no signs or symptoms of smallpox. Jenner conducted twelve additional experiments all proving that vaccinations helped protect humans against infections. It took over eighteen years after Jenner created the smallpox vaccine for scientists to create new vaccines. In the 1830s after an initial generation had been vaccinated, the United States and Europe saw a decline in smallpox (Stern & Markel, 2005, para, 23). Even with the success of the new vaccination, there were people known as antivaccinationists who believed vaccines were an invasion to their privacy and bodily integrity. This is where it began, the debate over vaccinations.

During the hospital stay after delivering a baby, the mother will be asked if she would like her child to receive his or her first dose of the hepatitis B vaccination. Many new mothers without hesitation will agree to this vaccine. It is being recommended by a medical professional, why would a parent question them? Yet, many parents do considering that one-third out of the four million babies born in the United States are not vaccinated by the age of two (Aesoph, n.d., para. 1). Vaccinations are given to children of all ages to prevent or help fight certain possibly illnesses. All childhood vaccinations are given in a series of two or more doses. Depending on the child’s age, the dose and vaccine will vary. Most children should have completed the recommended vaccine schedule by the time they are six years old.

The vaccination schedule was designed to build a baby’s immune system from birth and develop as the child gets older. The first vaccination a newborn will receive is the hepatitis B vaccine, which they will typically get prior to leaving the maternity unit. The hepatitis B vaccine is given in three or four different injections over a six-month period (Department of Health and Human Services, n.d., para....
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