The Ongoing Debate: To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate Children?

Ban on unvaccinated children
For decades, people concerned with the health of the population have been getting involved in the ongoing debate about vaccinations: Should there be a ban on unvaccinated children? Every state in the U.S. has specific school immunization laws that require different vaccinations for enrollment in childcare and educational programs.

Not Vaccinating Children Is More Dangerous Than the Risks of Vaccination

Vaccines prevent diseases by helping the body to build immunity to specific diseases. An imitation strain of the specific disease is introduced to the body naturally, triggering the immune system to strengthen by fighting off the infection. However, some parents feel that vaccinations are dangerous for their children and aren’t comfortable with the idea of it being legally required. reminds concerned parents that the positives of vaccination outweigh the negatives. Although vaccination may seem like a risk, not getting children vaccinated is far more dangerous.

Places children frequent, such as schools, are known to be breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses that place children at a high risk of getting contagious diseases. Immunization laws are put into place to protect the health of the public by preventing the spread of epidemics. Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention distributes a vaccination schedule for recommended immunizations to every state to keep them updated on the most recent contagious diseases. Overall, vaccinations reduce the spread of contagious diseases by increasing immunity throughout largely populated areas. Children are the primary recipients of immunizations because they are more susceptible to contagious diseases due to their still developing health habits and immune systems.

The Right to Have Control Over One’s Body vs. the Right to an Education

Differing philosophical views on personal rights have been the source of disagreement on the topic of mandatory child vaccinations. Not all parents in the United States agree with giving the government the ultimate control over the body of their child. Some want their child to receive an education without having to get vaccinated beforehand. A number of states throughout the country have enacted strict immunization laws regarding the mandatory vaccination of children and school attendance. However, there are certain situations that some parents take advantage of to make their children exempt from vaccination.

What Qualifies as an Exemption?

If parents claim vaccinating their child will conflict with medical reasons, religious views, or philosophical views, the child can be exempt from immunization depending upon the state of residence. With an approved exemption, most states allow a child to attend childcare and educational programs. If there is a sudden disease outbreak that can be effectively prevented through vaccination, an unvaccinated child will be excluded from attending school.

Twenty U.S. states accept philosophical reasons for exemption from immunizations. Religious reasons fail to qualify as an exemption from immunization in the states of Mississippi and West Virginia. No legal penalties exist for not vaccinating children, but an unvaccinated child is left at a higher risk of getting a contagious disease.

Vaccination: Whom Should the Choice Belong to?

There is no question that the most important wish of a parent is to protect their child. Choosing not to vaccinate children is a choice some parents make out of fear of exposing their child to dangerous diseases and potential side effects. What parents need to remember is that not vaccinating puts their children at a higher risk. Medical vaccinations exist for the sole purpose of preserving the health and safety of the people by protecting them from harmful and sometimes fatal diseases. The issue at hand isn’t about who should have the power to decide whether to vaccinate children. What is most important is that the right choice is made to protect the health of the children.

For more information to help educate patients on the facts and myths about vaccinations, visit our article, “Patients with an irrational fear of vaccinations.”

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