Yes or No to Mandatory Vaccinations
Should vaccinations be mandatory for children entering school? At the present time, all fifty states in the United States require children entering public school to be vaccinated. However, no federal vaccination laws exist (ProCon.org, Children Vaccinations, Did you know?). Many parents hold religious beliefs against vaccination. Forcing such parents to vaccinate their children would violate the First Amendment, which guarantees citizens the right to the free exercise of their religion. Others believe that common childhood vaccinations may cause rare, yet serious reactions.
Proponents of mandatory vaccination argue that the risk of not being vaccinated far outweighs the small risk associated with vaccination. Preventable diseases like measles and mumps can cause permanent disability and death. In 1991, an outbreak of measles in an unvaccinated group of children in Philadelphia caused seven deaths (ProCon.org, Children Vaccinations, Pro). Children infected with mumps can become permanently deaf. Although a very small number of deaths from the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine have been reported, the most common adverse reactions are minor soreness and or fever.
Vaccines can eradicate disease and prevent serious illness and death. Mandatory vaccination has eliminated disease that once killed thousands of children, such as polio and smallpox. According to the researchers at the Pediatric Academic Society, childhood vaccinations in the United States prevent about 10.5 million cases of infectious illness and 33,000 deaths per year (ProCon.org, Children Vaccinations, Did you know?). They believe that most childhood vaccines are 90-99% effective in preventing disease (ProCon.org, Children Vaccinations, Pro). When children who have been vaccinated do contract a disease, despite being vaccinated against it, they usually have milder symptoms with less serious complications than an un-vaccinated child who...
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