Sung Eun (Grace)
Grande Prairie Regional College
Should vaccination programs be mandatory?
Immunization or vaccination is “an essential component of disease prevention” (Potter & Perry, 2010, p. 649). However, there are many argumentative voices on whether vaccine program should be mandatory. It is true that in democratic countries, individuals have the rights to refuse and the freedom of choice to acquire vaccination. Hence, there has been political issue (since this is “linked to some vision of reordering society”) on immunization against the government whether they should enforce mandatory vaccination; especially in country where the health-care is regulated by the government (Dickerson, Flanagan & O’Neill, 2008). The purpose of this paper is to support the stance of voluntary vaccination program in which the government should respect individual rights and freedoms according the Code of Ethics as well as Charter of Rights and Freedom, while providing the best informed resources about immunization to the public. Vaccines are promise of protection for everyone regardless of age; however, individuals’ decision on vaccination should be respected, particularly in democratic countries. Immunization/ Vaccination
Bacteria, germs, and virus are the source of infections which are widely spread. Potter and Perry (2010) stated that immunization is the process by which resistance to a transferable disease is formed or improved via vaccination. With vaccine injections people are protected from diseases and improve body’s immune system (Public Health, 2007). According to the Unite for Children (2012), “immunization works by tricking the body into believing it is experiencing a full-scale invasion by an infectious agent so that the immune system can fortify its defenses”. When the vaccine is injected, dead microorganisms known as antigens are introduced to the body and the immune system fight against the antigens by producing “disease-fighting substances” known as antibodies (World Book, 2012). Subsequently, a “memory of this ‘invasion’ remains so that the immune system can quickly recognize and neutralize disease-causing agents when they appear” (Unite for Children, 2012). According to Potter and Perry (2010), common uses of immunizations have brought dramatic decline in infectious diseases since the 1950s and proved the rationale why it is the most important factor in health promotion from newborns to seniors. It is true that vaccination provides health promotion and disease prevention, but several lethal downsides have been identified as side effects. Points of the Argument
Examination of existing contents reveals two main arguments to be supported or opposed in the question of whether vaccination program should be mandatory. Beliefs and Values of Democracy. Opponents of voluntary vaccination program argue that it is the state’s responsibility to take care of public’s health by establishing mandatory vaccination. However, in democratic countries where the government “in which the people rule themselves” such as in Canada, individual rights and freedom are valued and such values are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom (Pocklington, 1994). According to the legal rights in Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, everyone has the right to life and liberty (Department of Justice, 2012). If the government set up mandatory vaccination program by taking away the promise of the rights to life and liberty from the individuals leaving them with no freedom and liberation, this would violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom under the Canadian law. Some individuals do not acquire vaccination or any immunization according to their religious beliefs. Moreover, when vaccination becomes mandatory to everyone, this would interfere with and violate individuals’ “freedom of conscience and religion” as recorded in the Charter of...