Dr. Jay Comp III
The Irrelevance of Childhood Vaccinations
The love a parent has for a child is something that is precious and cherished. Parents are providers and protectors of their children. Even though there are no federal vaccination laws, the United States makes it a mandatory requirement that all school-aged children entering into the public school systems be vaccinated. Although vaccination is a requirement, all fifty states issue medical exemptions while forty-eight states allow religious exemptions and twenty states allow exemptions for philosophical reasons. As parents, they would want their child to be educated and safe. Therefore, the states make vaccinations a requirement and the schools make them mandatory. These requirements suggest that vaccinations are the best choice for the health of children. The facts show the immune system is already an efficient defense against foreign bacteria and viruses. The very diseases vaccinations protect against are essentially eradicated form the United States. Furthermore, vaccinations themselves can cause harmful effects on the body potentially outweighing the benefits of the immunity gained from the vaccine. Vaccines, like the diseases they protect against, can carry an unpredictable and unimaginable risk of injury or death. A child’s immune system is resilient and can deal with the most common infections independently. Some children are at greater risk than others for reacting to vaccines. The rate of disease and disability in children is at an alarming and concerning all-time high. Some ponder the increase in childhood asthma, allergies, learning disabilities, autism, attention-deficit disorder, and diabetes and ask if it could be related to vaccinations. As of 2011, Florida requires school-aged children to receive several doses of the vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and hepatitis B (Florida Department of Health, 2011). With Diphtheria once being a major cause of illness and in extreme cases death among children in the1930’s there hasn’t been any cases reported in the United States for many years. Polio became an epidemic in the early 1900’s in countries that had relatively high standards of living, but has been eliminated from the Western Hemisphere. Smallpox plagued many populations for thousands of years, however the last known case occurred in Somalia in 1977. The question in hand could be that with all the diseases that the vaccinations fight against we haven’t seen any cases or instances of them effecting our lives or children for many decades what exactly is the purpose to keep fighting against them. The thought of the decreased mortality has been contributed to improved hygiene, water standards, and better nutrition. The common vaccinations are known to cause serious reactions including anaphylactic shock, paralysis, and sudden death. They can trigger autoimmune disorders such as lupus, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and other disorders (ProCon.org, 2011). The risk is not worth taking, especially considering most diseases are not necessarily life threatening. With the advances in our medicine we can care for and treat the diseases much differently then in the early 1900s. All diseases and vaccines aren’t the same, and neither are all kids. With the mandatory requirements being made by the different states and not by the federal government, parents should be able to make informed and voluntary decisions to vaccinate their children. Childhood immunity is sufficient without injections of substances to gain immunity. This actively gained immunity is protecting against diseases that haven’t been seen in this country in a very long time. If that was not enough, vaccinations carry an inherent risk of injury or death. Every parent deserves to be given and unbiased, and educated information about the diseases and the vaccines. If we cannot be free to make informed, voluntary decisions about taking care of our children, and risking their lives for pharmaceutical gains, then we essentially are not free.
Florida Department of Health, (2011). Immunization guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.immunizeflorida.org/schoolguide.pdf
ProCon.org. (2011, January 9). Should any vaccines be required for children? Vaccines.ProCon.org. Retrieved from http://vaccines.procon.org/#did_you_know