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Kristine Joy Avelino
English 100, 3PM
Essay 5, Final
December 7, 2017
Vaccines are strongly integrated into modern medicine and it is well-known achievements of biomedical science. In 20th century, it has said to be most successful public health interventions. The US children who was born between the year 1995 and 2013 generations have grown up without being exposed to epidemics of measles, flu, hepatitis, rubella, etc. Most of the kindergarten age children received all the recommended vaccines as a needed for school or daycare attendance. It aimed to prevent the development and spread of targeted contagious diseases. However, many mothers decide not to vaccinate their children, or refuse from certain vaccinations. 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. Vaccines are addressed to carry risks of severe acute and chronic adverse effects, such as neurological complications and even death, but such risks are considered so rare that the vaccination program is believed to be safe and effective for virtually all children.
The pediatric vaccination recommends US children to receive up to 48 doses of vaccines for 14 diseases from birth to age 6. The Vaccines for Children program began with vaccines targeting nine diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b disease, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, and rubella. In between 1995 and 2013, new vaccines against five other diseases were added for children age 6 and under: varicella, hepatitis A, pneumococcal disease, influenza, and rotavirus vaccine. A major current controversy is the question of whether vaccination plays a role in neurodevelopmental disorders, which broadly include learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. The controversy has been fueled by the fact that the U.S. is encountering what has been described as a “silent pandemic” of mostly subclinical developmental neurotoxicity. Based on research, 43% of US children suffer from at least 1 of 20 chronic illnesses. Study showed 6 to 12 year-old, 405 were partially or fully vaccinated while 261 were unvaccinated. It is revealed a shocking link between vaccines and child’s health. Vaccinated children were 4x more likely to be diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, 5x more likely to be diagnosed with a Learning Disability, 340x more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, 5.9x more likely to have been diagnosed with Pneumonia, 3.8x more likely to have been diagnosed with middle ear infection and 30x more likely to be diagnosed with allergic rhinitis. Almost half of the US children have allergies. Compared to their parents, children today are 4x more likely to have a chronic illness and previously rare pediatric disorder are soaring.
It is recommended by the public health officials and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide set of vaccination for every child by the age of six. It is the right age to develop immunity against the vaccinated types of diseases. These recommendations allow to lessen the chance of out spreading the virus infections. Vaccination allows to keep the child against many dreadful diseases, and the so-called herd immunity is created, when most children are vaccinated. This kind of immunity protects the whole society from the possibility of virus outbreak, because the virus cannot be transferred by vaccinated people. Also, vaccination helps to develop immunity, not only protect individual health but also protects the whole community against potential outbreaks. Yet, some activists of anti-vaccine movement decide not to vaccinate their children, and some of them take alternative vaccination schedule for their children. Many parents who watched documentation about vaccines have tend to be activist of anti-vaccine. Children who receive latter vaccination have additional risk to the viruses. Because of the activist, the overall number of vaccinated people reduce, and the herd immunity becomes weaker. The decision of having a vaccine affected not only the parents and their children, but also the society. These individual decisions might harm the society, community, the government and public health professionals. The government should have the right to compel vaccination. It is to certain extent like 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 documentation about vaccines influenced many viewers on vaccination, as I did not realize the power of herd immunity. 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. Regarding 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 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 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. 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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