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Should Parents Immunize Their Children?

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Should Parents Immunize Their Children?


Should Parents Immunize Their Children?

In 2015 measles made a comeback in the United States after it was thought it was eradicated for the past 15 years. Dan Margolies (2015) wrote an article looking at why this highly contagious disease is make a comeback. It showed that the immunization rates for measles was getting below 90% which is the threshold for maintaining “herd immunity”. This immunity protects a community when a certain number of people or immune to a disease.  The question then becomes who is responsible for maintaining this immunity? This paper will review a newspaper article about a parent’s concern about vaccines, research of vaccines and current concerns about vaccines.

Refusal of Immunizations

Parents stress over the decision if they should immunize their children. The decision is difficult one due to the wide range of concerns relate to vaccinations. Parents learn about immunizations in many ways, such as, the internet, other people, their medical providers etc. Some information leads to confusion about vaccinating and also lead to difficulty questions about the safety of their child.

According to a newspaper article published in the Wichita Eagle (2016, November 2), a family in Texas was protesting unvaccinated children putting her child at risk. The Moore family has a child who was diagnosed with Leukemia, a type of cancer that weakens her immune system. Courtney Moore has now become an advocate for immunizations in Texas, since there is an increasing number of parents choosing not to immunize their children year after year. Texas is one of 18 states that allows nonmedical exemptions to attend school. They are opting out of immunizations due to the fear of autism, which has been discredited by public health officials.

In the article, The Unvaccinated Child…(2016), provided the states immunizations  rates were as high as 98% but there are areas of the states with growing clusters of unimmunized children. There is one school in Texas with an unvaccinated rate of 40% and others at 38%. These schools are below the acceptable rate to protect the “herd immunity”, which puts the children in the schools at risk, babies who can’t be immunized yet and people whose immune system is compromised, such as the Moore child at the greatest risk of getting of infection. The Moore’s understand vaccination is a personal decision but people must understand that they are putting others at risk too.

Research of Vaccines

According to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia stated that “innovative techniques now drive vaccine research, with recombinant DNA technology and new delivery techniques leading scientist in new directions.” (“The History of Vaccines”, 2017). Public health officials insist that vaccines are the best way to protect public health. Vaccinations over time have become safer for people. Vaccines have been proven to make people immune to certain diseases (Childhood Immunization, 2017). A vaccinated person is not only helping themselves but others too. Vaccines are important for preventing disease.

Childhood Vaccines

Childhood vaccines protect children from a variety of serious diseases, which include diphtheria, measles, meningitis, polio, tetanus, and whooping cough. In 1900, 30.4% of children under 5 died, by 1997 the number decreased to 1.4%. Decrease in childhood deaths came from disease control, which resulted from improvements in sanitation and hygiene, the discovery of antibiotics, and the implementation of universal childhood vaccination programs (“Achievement in Public Health…”, 1999). Today, children in the United States get vaccines that protect them diseases, starting from birth. Childhood vaccines help children stay healthy from others who they may meet who have a disease and protect others who are unable to be vaccinated or have a decreased immune system (Childhood Immunization, 2017).  

Vaccine Concerns

Many people are against vaccinations due to concerns they have about the ingredients in vaccines, effects on the immune system and the side effects of vaccines. Some people believe that the ingredients in vaccines are harmful and can lead to neurologic problems. Although, vaccines do contain chemicals, preservatives, and stabilizers which prevent bacterial or fungal contamination in the vaccines there was no evidence that any of the ingredients caused neurological problems. In 1999, the Center for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics decided to remove thimerosal from vaccines due to public concern related to children receiving too much mercury in the vaccines (Offit, 2007).

Another concern people have about vaccines is related to the belief that our bodies has its own immune system to protect them against diseases. It is believed that natural infection often provides a more complete immunity than a series of vaccinations. Without being vaccinated, a person must become infected with the disease to become immune to the virus that caused it. Also, side effects from getting the vaccine often will prevent people from getting the vaccine. The most common side effects of a vaccine are redness and swelling at the injection site and low-grade fever, which will disappear in a few days, but the rare symptoms are severe allergic reactions (Childhood Immunizations, 2017).

Conclusion

Vaccinations are very important, because it provides protection not only for the vaccinated individual but for those individuals that cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons or their age. Vaccinations exposes people safely to infectious diseases creating the antibodies, so that they can become protected against a disease without the complications from getting the disease (Childhood Immunization, 2017). The Unvaccinated Child… article from the Wichita Eagle (2016) did express this due to the Moore child have Leukemia, this was the basis for the article and the parent advocating for vaccines.

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