The rare today” (Editorial Staff). A pediatrician and

The
controversy concerning vaccination for children has been a debate for many
parents. A vaccine is defined as a biological agent used to prevent very
serious illnesses and diseases, such as smallpox, measles, influenza,
tuberculosis, and hepatitis by injecting a weakened infectious organism into
the human body. When vaccines are given, the human body produces antibodies
against the foreign substance, thus creating a defense mechanism for immunity
to occur. Parenting decisions based on vaccinations are a sensitive matter in a
child’s life. Many parents favor vaccines because they care about their
children’s health during the first years of their lives. There are parents who
fully trust and admire doctors for their efforts in contributing to preventative
healthcare. However, some parents delay vaccinations because they are genuinely
concerned about severe allergic reactions or long-term side effects. Other
parents completely refuse vaccinations because they are unable to afford it or
hold personal, moral, or religious beliefs. Disease prevention is important to
public health because it protects both those who receive them and those with
whom they come in contact with. 
There is a minority of parents who are against vaccinations
because of the idea that it causes more harm than good. They fear that
vaccinations will cause serious and permanent damage in the natural immune
system. They also believe that their child’s immune system is never allowed to
grow if they become too dependent on the medicine. The Family Doctor website
has an article called, Vaccines: What They Are and Why Your Child Needs Them
that affirms, “Vaccines are generally quite safe. The protection provided by
vaccines far outweighs the very small risk of serious problems. Vaccines have
made many serious childhood diseases rare today” (Editorial Staff). A
pediatrician and bioethicist from Vanderbilt University on the Flu Vaccines
Withdrawn in Alert Over Side-effects article also says, “Vaccines are important
tools in preventing serious infectious disease across the lifespan, from
infancy through adulthood. All health care interventions, however, carry the
possibility of risk and vaccines are no exception” (Clayton 12). There is no
guarantee that vaccines do not cause risks, but scientific studies reveal that
serious problems rarely happen. According to the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention website, “Any vaccine can cause side effects. For the most part
these are minor . . . sore arm or low-grade fever and go away within a few days.”
Vaccines cause mild and temporary side effects, such as redness, fever, or
swelling at the site where the shot was given (“Frequently Asked Questions
About Immunizations”). An article called, The Truth About Gardasil talks about
girls receiving the Gardasil shot and their adverse effects. These effects
included nausea, vomiting, redness, swelling, and more. The Center for Disease
Control and Prevention shows the probability of being about a one in four
people to develop these symptoms. Therefore, these girls were most likely part
of the minority group to acquire these reactions.
Since vaccines have to be taken numerous times in a year,
parents oppose vaccines because of the costs. They are expensive depending on
the amount of doses, as well as the cost of a doctor’s visit. For example, the
Gardasil shot is specifically made to prevent cervical cancer in women and it
costs $360 for three shots. Many health insurance companies will pay for this
vaccine and there are also programs that help people without insurance to get
it for low or no cost. Health insurance companies emphasize preventive care,
which maintains good overall health. Unfortunately, there are many people who
are uninsured and these services are simply too expensive. The federal
government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
called, Vaccines provide benefits to help make it more affordable and
accessible. The website states, “If you don’t have insurance, or if it does not
cover vaccines, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program may be able to help . .
. provides vaccines at no cost to doctors who serve eligible children . . .
younger than 19 years of age.” This federally funded program helps those who
have the inability to pay for vaccinations. There is another program that may
help provide free vaccines called, the Michigan Vaccine Replacement Program.
Gail Brink is the finance director for the health department and notes that
uninsured or underinsured people have increased the last few years and more are
applying for programs (“Cost of Vaccines Have Risen Drastically”). According to
an analysis by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, every dollar
spent on immunizations saves $18.40 in medical costs, creating a total of $42
billion in savings from treating unvaccinated diseased individuals. Vaccines
create significant economic benefits for our society even for people who do not
have the proper health insurance to get the preventative care they need. In
addition, preventative care is easier than curing and less expensive than
treatments.
The development of vaccines is one of the greatest advances
in modern medicine. However, parents do not see this as an important matter in
terms of getting their child vaccinated. Countless of parents believe that
doctors are greedy and ignorant, so they develop trust issues in their medical
assessments. This can be revealed from the KevinMD website which has an article
called, When People Decide Not to Vaccinate their Children, I Take It
Personally. It is written by a medical doctor who has worked in both pediatric
and adult medicine for years and states, “I see people who are not only
rejecting what we have to offer, but are vilifying doctors . . . who have
devoted decades of their lives to caring for children and families and continue
to work their hardest to give patients the highest quality care we know how”
(Au). Au genuine cares for children and families, but she personally feels
offended by people who reject her efforts and motives to help. It is important
that parents recognize the fact that doctors go through years of education to
dedicate their lives to work in the healthcare field and help treat sick or
injured people. Parents should also give not only doctors, but scientists the
credit for extensively creating and testing vaccines intended for preventative
healthcare. 
Many parents often think vaccines are unnecessary in many
cases where the risk of death from disease is highly unlikely. The reason for
this is that they believe maintaining a child’s health is enough to protect
them from sickness. 
Although the death rate of childhood diseases was reduced by
good hygiene and purified drinking water prior to vaccines, children are now
exposed to thousands of germs at any given moment that is beyond our control.
This is especially difficult when a child is in school and their parents are
incapable of looking after them. A number of parents go through extreme
measures to avoid vaccinating their child by helping them develop good personal
habits. Some even decide to home school their child to keep them away from
people who carry germs. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention says, “If
an unvaccinated child is exposed to a disease germ, the child’s body may not be
strong enough to fight the disease. Before vaccines, many children died from
diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as the whooping cough, measles, and
polio.” Throughout the years, potentially fatal diseases like the ones listed
in the citation have been eliminated and reduced with routine immunization.
This is why parents should at least take their child to see a primary physician
for annual checkups and get the recommended immunizations.
Additionally, many parents jeopardize the health of the
public due to their religious beliefs. Christian parents may take a passage
from the New Testament principle, “Do you not know that you are the temple of
God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy”
(New American Bible, 1 Cor. 3:16-17). Some may have even taken passages in the
scripture from the Old Testament principle, “You are children of the LORD, your
God. You shall not gash yourselves . . .” (New American Bible, Duet. 14.1).
Christian parents believe that our bodies are, “temples” and should not be
tampered with. According to an article called, Parents Should Be Pressed to
Have their Children Vaccinated, a social worker and founder of National Council
for the Child named Kadman says, 
There are those who say ‘God will protect the children, not
the vaccine.’ They think that the fact that the majority of children are
vaccinated will protect them. But this is a selfish attitude, as the lower the
vaccination rate in the general population, the greater the risk that the
disease will break out among unvaccinated children. (Siegal)
Vaccinated children will not guarantee resistance against
disease as well as the influence from Christian values. In the article on the
Public Health Report website called, The Biology of Vaccines and Community
Decisions to Vaccinate, Freeman states that, “. . . immunization strategy for
protecting entire communities can only be effective when herd immunity has been
achieved. Herd immunity is achieved when there is a sufficient level of vaccine
protection in the population to prevent circulation of the disease to those who
remain biologically susceptible” (21). Therefore, if the majority of the
population is immunized, there are enough people to prevent the spread of
disease through the population.
The ongoing debate about anti-vaccination confuses a handful
of parents to take a decision at their own risk. We are fortunate to live in a
time when vaccines are an important health benefit to the public, especially
for children who are prone to certain diseases. Allergic reactions are mild and
protection undeniably outweighs the severity of the fatal side effects.
Vaccination fees should not be a setback because those without insurance or
have a plan that does not have drug coverage may qualify for free vaccines
through federally funded programs. Vaccines prepare children to protect their
bodies to fight many potentially deadly diseases. Doctors and scientists should
be trusted as they have continually studied in their field to become fully
qualified. There is without a doubt that the majority of them are true to their
work. When we have the guidance of these healthcare providers, it is easier to
make decisions based on all the essential factors to good health. Even so,
boosting a child’s immunity naturally with healthy foods or plenty of sleep is
not enough to protect them from infectious diseases. There will be fewer
amounts of children that can catch a disease when a larger number of
populations are vaccinated. Making sure a child’s vaccination records are
updated and that they are getting a yearly flu shot is a preventative measure
not only for a child’s benefit, but for the rest of us.