Vaccination

D NAGESH
  • 17 Mar, 2017 12:19 PM  
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Vaccination has strongly integrated into modern medicine, and several generations have grown up without being exposed to epidemics of measles, whooping cough, measles, etc. However, during the recent decade an anti-vaccine movement has emerged, powered by the complaints and claims of parents in Internet and videos related to supposed specific effects of vaccines. Many mothers opt not to vaccinate their children, or refuse from certain vaccinations. The purpose of this paper is to analyze video “The Vaccine War” which represents arguments of both sides in this dispute, consider different aspects of vaccination and potential effect of the reduction in the number of vaccinated people, discuss the idea of compulsory vaccination and to consider the appropriateness of TV program format for such issues as well as the impact of this video on personal viewpoint regarding vaccination.

Vaccine War

Public health officials and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide a recommended set of vaccinations for every child by the age of 6. These recommendations allow to minimize the risk of spreading for virus infections and help the kids to develop immunity against the vaccinated types of diseases. Vaccination allows to protect the child against many dreadful diseases, and when most kids are vaccinated, the so-called herd immunity is created. This form of immunity protects the whole society from the risks of virus outbreak, because the virus cannot be spread by vaccinated people. Thus, vaccination does not only protect individual health and helps to develop immunity, but also protects the whole community against potential outbreaks.

However, some activists of anti-vaccine movement decide not to vaccinate their children, and some of them choose alternative vaccination schedule for their kids. The former are putting the health of their children at high risk, especially in adult years, when people are more prone to traveling and changing locations (the person could easily get a mortal disease at exotic resorts and after contacts with other non-vaccinated people). The latter also create additional risk for their kids, because alternative schedule is likely to add possible time of exposure to the viruses for their children. Both groups increase the risk for the community because they reduce the overall number of vaccinated people, and the herd immunity becomes weaker.

Since vaccination decisions affect not only mothers and their kids, but also the community, these decisions cannot be treated as individual ones. At the point where individual decisions might harm the community, the government and public health professionals should also be involved. In my opinion, the government should have the right to compel vaccination.

It is to certain extent similar to criminal laws or driving rules – when the actions of one person can harm others, law should come to action. At the same time, the procedure of vaccination should be more open, and health professionals should carefully study genetic history and reactions of kids before vaccinating them. Currently all procedures are performed as a stream, which increases the risks for vulnerable children, and these risks should be minimized with the help of detailed medical examination and scientific approach.

The “Vaccine War” significantly influenced my views on vaccination, as I did not realize the power of herd immunity before this video. Earlier I believed that vaccination should be an individual decision. Currently I think that vaccination should be compulsory, because of high potential dangers of refusing it versus real risks of adverse reaction to the vaccines. With regard to the connection between autism and vaccination, these results should be studied in more detail, and delivered to the public using mass media. In this case, TV programs like the “Vaccine War” can be used as means of delivering scientific conclusions to the public. Although this video favors the perspective of vaccination using numerous examples of studies disproving the ideas of anti-vaccine movement, it operates facts and results which can be testified and, therefore, are more reliable than Internet videos and complaints of particular people. However, problems raised by anti-vaccine movement should be studied in more detail in the sphere of public health, and the results should be reported publicly and in understandable form, to make them available for everyone.

Conclusion

Vaccination is highly important, because it provides protection not only for vaccinated individuals but for those who cannot be vaccinated due to biological/genetic reasons and for young babies who cannot be vaccinated due to their age. Vaccination is important for the whole society, and the effect of vaccination is not limited by one country only, because people all over the world are nowadays traveling more, and exposure to viruses combined with low vaccination can easily cause an outbreak in other countries, especially if they are using different scheme of vaccination or have lower rate of vaccinated people.

Thus, in my opinion, the government should make vaccination compulsory, and introduce punitive sanctions for those who refuse to vaccinate their children. At the same time, the process of vaccination should be more open for parents and other involved people, and they should be able to control the procedure and be aware of the minimization of risk for the kids. The idea to make multiple vaccines at a time should also be reconsidered, because this might pose too significant threat for the kids’ immunity. Although these procedures might be more costly, it would be better to apply to vaccines one at a time. TV and other mass media should also interact with the government and deliver scientifically reliable information to the people, because in the absence of information the public can easily follow different quasi-scientific articles and videos found in the Internet.



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