Issuespertaining to vaccinations have drawn a wide range of feelingsregarding their efficacy and importance. Given that they always touchon the health of an individual, it is understandable that they shouldelicit so much controversy. Questions have been devised regarding theeffects of vaccines. While there may be variations in opinions,vaccination comes with both positive and negative effects.
Onthe positive side, vaccinations usually save the lives of children.It is noted that a large number of childhood vaccines are 90-99percent effective in the prevention of disease. Statistics show thatvaccines manage to save about 2.5 million children from succumbing topreventable ailments every year (Plotkinet al 52). In addition, the ingredients used in the making of thevaccines are perfectly safe with regard to the amounts used.Components such as aluminum, formaldehyde and thimerosal may beharmful when consumed in large doses. However, the amounts in thevaccines are lower than the amounts incorporated in infant formulaand breast milk (Plotkinet al 56).
Onthe same note, scholars have acknowledged that the vaccination ofchildren goes a long way in saving children, as well as their parentsmoney and time. Indeed, vaccines come with considerably low costs asfar as money and time are concerned when compared with the amount offinancial and time resources that would be required to take care of asick child particularly in instances where the ailment is infectious.Statistics show that children below the age of five who suffer fromflu are deemed contagious for around 8 days. A 2012 CDC studydemonstrated that parents would, in such scenarios incur an averageof between 11 and 73 hours of wages, which is approximately $222 to$1456, coupled with between $300 and $4000 on their treatment ormedical expenses (Plotkinet al 49). Similarly, children suffering from rotavirus would remaincontagious for a maximum of 30 days. In a measles outbreak in January2008 in San Diego, CA, 11 unvaccinated children caught the ailmentwith the net cost on the public sector amounting to about $10,376 foreach as a result of outbreak response and emergency vaccination. Thisis far much more expensive compared to the vaccination of thechildren, particularly considering that parents would not be requiredto pay for vaccines under Obamacare (Ellis56).
Inaddition, vaccines play a key role in the enhancement of thecommunity immunity. Indeed, scholars have acknowledge that ininstances where a critical percentage (the proportion of individualsthat have to be vaccinated so as to offer community immunity) of apopulation has been vaccinated against a particular infectiousailment, there is a reduction of the likelihood that there would bean outbreak of the same ailment in which case a large proportion ofthe community would be well protected from the same (Plotkinet al 54). It is worth noting that children who are incapable ofbeing vaccinated as a result of age and poor health as a result ofcompromised immunity and chemotherapy or any other reasons depend onthe herd/ community immunity in the aversion of the possibility of anoutbreak of vaccine-preventable ailments. A case in point would bethe 2008 measles outbreak in San Diego, CA, where about 48 childrenhad been quarantined as they were too young to undergo vaccinationand the herd immunity was insufficient in safeguarding their safety(Plotkinet al 55). On the same note, 49 states in the US failed to attain the92%-94% herd immunity threshold for whooping cough thereby leading tothe 2012 outbreak that resulted in the sickness of 42,00 people(Ellis64). This is seen as the largest whooping cough outbreak since 1955.Testament to the importance of herd immunity is the fact that in2005, an Amish girl aged 18 months got infected with polio, and endedup spreading the ailment to four other kids that had not beenvaccinated (Plotkinet al 56). However, since the community had attained the herdimmunity threshold for polio, the possibility of an outbreak of theailment was averted in the long-term. This, with no doubt came withimmense savings, not only with regard to the man hours that wouldhave been required for taking care of sick members of the society butalso concerning the financial resources lost and used in therestoration of their health.
Onthe negative side, vaccines may have serious side effects. Like everyother medication, there is always a risk for allergic reaction to thevaccination, which the CDC puts at one in a million children. This isconsiderably low given the fact that the children also stand the riskof dying in case they are not vaccinated (Buchwald34).
Whilethis may be the case, requiring mandatory vaccination of children isthe right way to go. This is particularly considering the highcapacity for saving lives coupled with the safety of the levels ofthe ingredients in the vaccines. As much as there is always the riskfor allergic reactions, the one in a million risk is perfectly low,in which case it should not be a deterrent or even a reason for notgetting individuals vaccine (Ellis67).
Buchwald,Gerhard. Vaccination:A Business Based on Fear.Norderstedt: Books on Demand GmbH, 2003. Print.
Ellis,Carol. Vaccines.New York: Cavendish Square, 2014. Print.
Plotkin,Stanley A, Walter A. Orenstein, and Paul A. Offit. Vaccines., 2013. Print.