Why vaccinate children? Wouldn’t it be better to just have the children create their own immunity? Doesn’t it make the kids sick? Vaccinating children has been a controversial issue for a few years now. There is always someone that is unhappy about giving vaccines to their kids due to what they see on social media, the majority rule of people’s opinions, or simply are not educated enough to understand so they either hesitate or refuse. Vaccinations have helped us prevent widespread diseases and have reduced the amount of outbreaks that used to occur in the past. If it weren’t for vaccines, we would still have illnesses and diseases spread throughout the population and there would have been multiple epidemics. Parents should be aware of what these vaccines can do to help to prevent widespread of diseases from happening among other children and to help protect the population.
What are vaccines? The dictionary definition of a vaccine is any preparation used as a preventive inoculation to confer immunity against a specific disease, usually employing an innocuous form of the disease agent, as killed or weakened bacteria or viruses, to stimulate antibody production. To put it in simpler terms, it is a preparation that gives you immunity towards certain diseases and by doing so, you are given a dosage of the actual bacteria that is either weakened or dead, thus creating antibodies which form an immunity towards the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, vaccines help protect us from 14 different types of diseases. The most common in the United States are pertussis, also known as whooping cough, and varicella, also known as chickenpox. If it weren’t for vaccines, the recurrence of these diseases would likely rise and cause an outbreak.
Recently, there has been an outbreak on chickenpox spread throughout children. Reason being, are parents taking their children to chickenpox parties where the child is exposed to other children that have the chickenpox. Doing so, would create an immunity for the child if they are exposed. In Joseph Parad’s journal, “A Psychological Critique of the Public Health Response to Chicken Pox Parties,” Dr. Walter Orenstein warned that exposing children to the virus can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis. Vaccinations help prevent serious complications because compared to being exposed to the actual disease, it is a safer since it doesn’t cause those severe complications. The child would already have the immunity in their system to fight off the disease. Most of the diseases in the United States that were an issue in the past have mostly been eliminated because of science breakthrough but because of the vast majority of citizens that believe vaccines are harmful or unnecessary, parents have stopped taking their children to get vaccinated. (Rabinowitz, Mitchell, et al. “Beliefs about Childhood Vaccination in the United States: Political Ideology, False Consensus, and the Illusion of Uniqueness.”)
The benefits to having your child vaccinated is to provide immunity towards diseases and to prevent them from spreading. In the news article from July 10, 2010 USA Today, “Vaccines are our best defense against some diseases,” Judith S. Palfrey, M.D. stated that in 2008, there was an unvaccinated boy who came back home from a trip in Switzerland, had the measles. When he came back home to San Diego, California, there were more than 800 people who were exposed to the virus. Not only were so many people exposed to the virus, there were also eleven children, who were not vaccinated, caught the virus from the young boy. There were also three children who were, not old enough to be vaccinated, became infected and caught the virus. Incidents similar to this are reasons why children should be vaccinated. Vaccination saves lives and helps prevent spread of diseases to others including children who are too young and are unable to receive certain vaccinations until they are older. The side effects and risks to vaccines, according to the CDC, are “almost always minor and go away within a few days.” Like any other medications, vaccines, of course, do have side effects such as swelling or redness around the injection site. The most severe is when a child has an allergic reaction to the medication. When this happens, parents are informed to keep an eye on their child and if any severe side effects occur, they should contact their doctor immediately. These side effects are usually temporary in aiding with giving your child the proper immunity to fight off certain diseases without the long term and severe side effects when actually receiving the disease or virus directly.
Parents have every right and reason to refuse to vaccinate their child and hesitate in doing so. There are side effects that can cause death or serious complications and the child receiving too many shots will probably weaken their immunity rather than strengthen it. Sometimes even having a distrust in relationship with their primary health care provider. Vaccines have side effects just like medications do. These side effects are temporary and are helping with building immunity. The CDC already states the risks and warnings on what to expect. There are very rare cases of extremely severe side effects and deaths occurring when a child is vaccinated. According to the opposing viewpoints article, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Giving Multiple Vaccines to Children Is Safe,” children are given vaccines at a young age because their body is most vulnerable to diseases. The best time to give them vaccines is when they are young so that they can build up their immunity from an early age. Parents are worried about the child receiving too many shots. Well there is no evidence that a child has an immunity overload in their system. Their body would just simply adjust to the vaccines and create their immunity with the help of the vaccines after the body goes through various changes and handles the side effects from the vaccines.
Vaccines are a way to protect children and prevent the spread of known diseases and infections. They have been around for years through science breakthrough and have prevented a history of outbreaks that has not occurred anymore in today’s time. When parents are more aware of what vaccines can do to help their child, the benefits and risks, and how to protect them and others is key in raising awareness on vaccines, it can reduce the amount of children that are not vaccinated. The proper way is to educate them and reduce their worries and fears on vaccination through valid proof and information. Sustaining a trust between parents and their primary health care providers and being informed of this information can help protect children from across the United States and prevent outbreaks from happening.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Giving Multiple Vaccines to Children Is Safe.” Vaccines, edited by Sylvia Engdahl, Greenhaven Press, 2009. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010672212/OVIC?u=ranc95197&xid=c5968aa4. Accessed 7 Sept. 2017. Originally published as “Frequently Asked Questions About Multiple Vaccines and the Immune System,” 2007.
“For Parents: Vaccines for Your Children.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Mar. 2016, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/index.html.
“For Parents: Vaccines for Your Children.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 May 2017, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/vaccine-decision/index.html
Gilkey, Melissa B., et al. “Vaccination Confidence and Parental Refusal/Delay of Early Childhood Vaccines.” Plos ONE, vol. 11, no. 7, 08 July 2016, pp. 1-12. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0159087.
Parad, Jason. “A Psychological Critique of the Public Health Response to Chicken Pox Parties.” Society, vol. 49, no. 6, Dec. 2012, pp. 495-499. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s12115-012-9591-3.
Rabinowitz, Mitchell, et al. “Beliefs about Childhood Vaccination in the United States: Political Ideology, False Consensus, and the Illusion of Uniqueness.” Plos ONE, vol. 11, no. 7, 08 July 2016, pp. 1-19. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158382.
“Vaccines Are Our Best Defense against some Diseases.” USA Today, n.d. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=J0E291200310010&site=ehost-live.
“What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Mar. 2017, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/whatifstop.htm.
“Why Vaccinations are Good.” Saving Mamasita, savingmamasita.com/2015/02/why-vaccinations-are-good/.