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Weighing Vaccines: Good or Bad?

Published on December 14th, 2019 at 01:05 am

By Noelle Winter

Illnesses and diseases are starting to become a rising cause of death in many countries around the world. In many of these cases, there are no cures or systems of relief for these patients. Many physicians and scientists have been searching for cures for decades, but sadly, some diseases are unable to cure as of today. Our society and health professionals are doing everything they can to prevent these diseases from spreading, but once they starts to spread, there is no stopping them. There is one form of prevention that studies have shown to help prevent people from catching these deadly diseases: vaccines. Vaccines are substances injected typically in the arm, to prepare the immune system to fight against a disease by being an imitation of the infection, further making a “memory” of the disease. Then, when the immune system encounters the real disease, the memory cell fights back, preventing the vaccinated person from getting sick. Vaccines are usually distributed to children aged preschool to high school. Vaccines are extremely beneficial to prevent diseases from spreading due to making young kids immune to many diseases, further helping the prevention of major disease outbreaks. Further proving that vaccines are beneficial, elementary, middle and high schools require their students to be vaccinated for certain diseases. Some colleges require students to be vaccinated in order to be accepted to their program. Although vaccines are a big help to preventing the spreading of harmful diseases, there are some risks. This word, vaccines, to some people is frightening. Scientists and doctors work diligently to create the right strain of the vaccine for injection, but sometimes they get it wrong, making people more subject to getting the disease due to the vaccine not working with the immune system. With anything involving medicine, there are always side effects that need to be described before they are administered, including vaccines. These risks sometimes scare protective parents. The end result of vaccines are so astonishing that these risks should always be out-weighted. Vaccines are beneficial and a necessity for kids in our society due to studies proving they have worked to prevent disease spreading and to ensure children’s safety while attending lower grade schools. Although vaccines are fairly new, they have already proven beneficial in physician and scientist conducted experiments.

Many detailed studies of different vaccines have been conducted to measure the beneficial and harmful results. Townsend Letter writer, Jacob Schor, in his article, “Nonspecific effects of vaccination,” argues the many ways how vaccines are beneficial and have advantages to the children in our society by distributing the statistics from the results of different vaccines administered to prevent different diseases. He develops his evidence by first giving the specific definition of a vaccine, and how they have changed over time, he then gives examples of physicians that have researched the side effects from multiple vaccination programs, and finally he gives the nonspecific effects of vaccines on different diseases, like measles, smallpox, and many more. Schor then states, “..As current evidence tells that us vaccines not only protect against the specific diseases that they are intended to but may also affect resistance to other infectious diseases” (Schor), showing the benefits of vaccines and to persuade society that vaccines, as a result, are not harmful. More specific studies to certain diseases show the strong benefits of vaccines in a more detailed way. CNN writer, Jen Christensen, in her article, “Only half of Americans plan to get a flu shot this year. Here’s why that’s a problem.” argues how flu vaccinations can not only prevent one from catching the disease, but in the case that one does, it will be less of a take on the immune system. Christensen then discusses how the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) has been conducting surveys of the flu vaccination rates and the percent of people that were vaccinating their children. Christensen then gives this statistic, “The NFID survey of more than 1,000 people found that there was an increase in the number of children who were vaccinated against the flu: almost 63% got it in the 2018-2019 flu season, an increase of nearly 5% from the flu season before” (Christensen), proving that parents are increasingly giving their children vaccines for their own health benefit. Christensen ends her article by explaining how given that children are already at a high risk for catching the flu, getting the flu shot drastically lowers the chance that they’ll spread these viruses to the people they interact with.

Many worried parents around the world are starting to insist that their children need to be exempt from the required vaccinations for school. This, however, is not acceptable and needs to be changed for the well-being of the other students and school community. CNN writer, Jacqueline Howard, in her article, “Vaccine exemption rates among US kindergartners continue to climb, CDC says,” argues that the growing rates of exemption of vaccines is creating a bigger problem for children. With a large number of students in an elementary school not vaccinated makes a very easy way for viruses to travel between kids and cause outbreaks. Howard first starts off her article by describing the statistics of percentages of students exempt from required vaccines over the years to show how much the exemption train has progressed. She then focuses on a particular outbreak in school-age children, the measles outbreak, describing how multiple schools across the states have been overtaken by measles during the two-thousand eighteen to two-thousand nineteen school year. Howard states that, “Measles outbreaks…underscore the importance of both school vaccination requirements for preventing disease spread and school coverage assessments to identify pockets of under-vaccination” (Howard), showing how these parents do not understand the effects of non-vaccinating can have on the health and well-being of their communities. Education Week writer, Nirvi Shah, in her brief article, “Student Health; Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten—United States, 2011-12 School Year,” gives the statistics of the amount of students that were vaccinated compared to the non-vaccinated during the measles outbreak. Shah describes the latest measles outbreak as being the largest in almost twenty years. She then gives the reports written by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the number of student measles cases found among forty-seven states. Shah states that, “In 2011, the CDC reported 222 measles cases, most of which involved people who hadn't been vaccinated” (Shah), proving that the majority of the cases were people that were not vaccinated for measles. Abstaining from school requirements is never a good idea, especially when it is for the safety of the children.

Although vaccines for kids are very important to ensure the safety and well-being of the community, there are some slight risks. Just as any medicine or form of treatment you might take, there is always a list of the possible side effects that can occur while taking the medicine. This is just the same with vaccines. Mothering writer, Peggy O’Mara, writes in her editorial, “Vaccinations: what’s a parent to do?” how even though vaccines have benefits, there is always another side to them. O’mara writes, “…suggesting the profit motive in vaccination manufacture and reporting on past contamination of polio vaccines with cancer-related viruses” (O’Mara), describing how some vaccine strains for different diseases can help to influx other deadly diseases. She also discusses how during the early years of vaccines, the main motive of manufacturing was for the profit, not to keep people healthy and well. Some parents are now starting to rely on a different form of disease prevention. Daily Mail writers, Eleanor Hayward and Guy Adams argue in their article, “Fury as royal chemist backs anti-vaxxers; Book’s ‘dangerous’ alternative remedy for measles,” that vaccines are too dangerous to administer to children, and sells another option with better results: homeopathy. Hayward and Adams state that, “Homeopathy will strengthen the child’s immune system more ably than any vaccine” (Hayward and Adams), helping to prove that there is a more reliable and better option for prevention than vaccines. Even though some doctors are trying to sell this program, scientists and physicians stress that they are spreading “dangerous misinformation” (Hayward and Adams). Although these statements are possible, vaccines have been proven in many ways to be the most beneficial to the health of children.

In the past decade, parents have been very hesitant to give their children vaccines. While it is very important to want what is best for your child, it is more important to ensure the children’s good health and safety as much as possible. Schools throughout the United States require their students to be vaccinated for certain diseases, and there is a well described reason as to why. Schools want their students to be healthy coming to school and healthy leaving school, meaning, kids need to be vaccinated so they won’t get other kids sick, and to ensure they won’t get sick from others. Not only for the students, but for the safety of the school staff, and community of people surrounding non-vaccinated kids, is very dangerous and can lead to major outbreaks. With doctors pleading and urging parents to vaccinate their children, it should now be very clear. So, when it comes our chance to be parents, make the smart choice and vaccinate your kids for the safety of the world around them. Peoples liberty and freedom to choose whether or not their children should be vaccinated needs to take a backseat for the safety and well-being of the community.

Works Cited

Christensen, Jen. "Only half of Americans plan to get a flu shot this year. Here's why that's a problem." CNN Wire, 26 Sept. 2019, p. NA. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A600869537/GPS?u=paci91811&sid=GPS&xid=6f2786b8. Accessed 5 Nov. 2019.

Hayward, Eleanor and Adams, Guy. "FURY AS ROYAL CHEMIST BACKS ANTI-VAXXERS; Book's 'dangerous' alternative remedy for measles." Daily Mail [London, England], 29 Oct. 2019, p. 10. Gale In Context: Biography, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A604081950/GPS? u=paci91811&sid=GPS&xid=ffe19b6d. Accessed 5 Nov. 2019.

Howard, Jacqueline. "Vaccine exemption rates among US kindergartners continue to climb, CDC says." CNN Wire, 17 Oct. 2019, p. NA. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A603003357/GPS?u=paci91811&sid=GPS&xid=72d733f0. Accessed 5 Nov. 2019.

O'Mara, Peggy. "Vaccinations: what's a parent to do?" Mothering, Fall 1997, p. 4+. Gale In Context: High School, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A19656282/GPS? u=paci91811&sid=GPS&xid=ff46b144. Accessed 5 Nov. 2019.

Schor, Jacob. "Nonspecific effects of vaccination." Townsend Letter, Oct. 2014, p. 90+. Gale In Context: Science, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A384643107/GPS? u=paci91811&sid=GPS&xid=1926c79f. Accessed 5 Nov. 2019.

Shah, Nirvi. "Student Health; 'Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten--United States, 2011-12 School Year'." Education Week, 29 Aug. 2012, p. 5. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A301921247/GPS? u=paci91811&sid=GPS&xid=00c84737. Accessed 5 Nov. 2019.