Recently, with the rise of children diagnosed with autism, many parents are beginning to believe that there is a link between autism and vaccinations. However, recent research indicates that autism can be detected and develops at a much earlier age and can be found developing while the child is still in the womb. Therefore, many of the concerns that parents have regarding vaccinations are invalidated by recent research.
With these new research developments, we know that the primary reason why so many Americans do not want to vaccinate their children is gone. However, that does not indicate why we should mandate vaccinations. Research supports that we should have our children vaccinated for many reasons, but these boil down to keeping all of us healthier.
The primary reason children should be vaccinated is because vaccinations help eliminate diseases. The reason that Edward Jenner, the man who developed vaccinations, came up with the idea of vaccinating at all is because he learned from research that if you vaccinate people against a disease, it could be eradicated from an area. Although Jenner’s work primarily looked at milkmaids and our modern process of vaccination is different, the same theories hold true—if you vaccinate many people, you can eradicate a disease. One of the diseases we have eradicated through vaccination, according to UNICEF and theChildren's Vaccine Initiative, is smallpox. Many other diseases do not run rampant because of vaccinations. With the quality of health care that the United States offers, there have been many diseases in the United States alone that are less lethal because of access to vaccines. These diseases include chickenpox, strains of Influenza, Measles, Pertussis, pneumococcal diseases such as Pneumonia and Tetanus. While not eradicated, access to vaccinations here in the United States creates options of making them less lethal to the entire population. If every person on earth were able to be vaccinated against these diseases, we could potentially eradicate them from the entire human population.
With the knowledge of the immense good vaccinations can do, it is also important to be aware of the potential harm caused by failing to vaccinate children. According to the CDC, diseases that today can be easily treated would return to their former glory of killing hundreds of thousands of people were we not to vaccinate our children. The vaccinations each child gets it not just for personal protection. If vaccinations were simply for oneself, then there would be no reason for many public schools to want children to have them prior to enrolling. What do they care if you want to get sick and everyone else is okay? In truth, people who are vaccinated against diseases cannot receive or pass diseases that they have been vaccinated against. If all children are vaccinated against a disease, this prevents breakouts in areas, which could spread to other areas. It only takes one child to bring the disease in. If every parent could, and did, vaccinate their child, we would begin to see not only diseases disappearing, but we would also prevent more children from getting sick in the first place.
Many people believe that vaccinations should be a choice for good reason. There have been instances in which children have become sick after receiving vaccinations from the vaccine. There have also been times in which the vaccine has been completely useless and children come down with the disease they were vaccinated against. However, most frequently, when a child receives a vaccine, they don’t get sick, they don’t die and it is effective. The diseases that can be vaccinated against are easily spread to other individuals. If physicians could vaccinate against cancer or heart disease, it should be a choice. If you want cancer or a heart attack, who are we to deny you? But when you can spread your diseases to me and my family by simply not wanting a shot, who are you to impose your sickness on me? For this reason, vaccinations should be compulsory.