Should Childhood Immunization be Mandatory?

Although various agencies and organizations often recommend childhood vaccines, most parents, especially new parents, have remained overwhelmed when it comes to vaccinations. According to Medical Writer Lee Ventola, immunization for children has become one of the controversial issues that countries across the world experience. Currently, no rule requires every child to get a vaccination; however, some countries have adopted regulations that enhance childhood immunization except for some groups. For instance, it is a requirement in all the states in the United States that every child that attends a public school must get vaccinated. However, most states provide exemptions to children based on factors such as religious beliefs. Although many people oppose childhood immunization, it should be mandatory because of its many positive effects on the lives of individuals.  Should Childhood Immunization be Mandatory?

Immunization is crucial since it protects individuals from diseases and those around them who might be suffering from underlying conditions. As Health Psychologists, Birthe Lehman and Danielle Timmermans, Medical Doctor, Hester de Melker, and Epidemiologist Liesbeth Mollema mentioned, vaccination significantly improves the immune system that fights diseases. Not only does childhood immunization offer protection against deadly diseases like polio and diphtheria, but also it reduces or eliminates conditions that spread from one child to another. No doubt, vaccines are part or weakened versions of germs causing certain conditions. When a child’s body is exposed to such, the immune system can develop antibodies that protect them from diseases even if they are exposed to the conditions.

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According to World Health Organization’s data, there were more than 130,000 measles deaths worldwide, with children below five years as the most affected group in 2018. Children are vaccinated against some conditions that are usually passed from one person to another through the air. According to University of Southampton Professors, Richard Clarke and Pauline Patterson, and Researchers, Sandra Mounier-Jack, Jemma Walker, and Sadie Bell,  this puts everyone in contact with children suffering from these conditions at risk of infections. World Health Organization also provides that vaccination prevents about 2.5 million deaths annually. This would tremendously reduce deaths, mainly among children. With this in mind, what would happen if all countries across the globe managed to achieve 100 percent immunization with 100 percent vaccine efficacy?

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Among the most affected groups in society, unvaccinated children are most likely to suffer from the conditions. The most successful and cost-effective way for parents to protect their children and countries as a whole is through immunization. While it might be challenging to determine the value of the vaccine given to children, it is vital to consider its impact on the economic growth, sustainability, and efficiency of various healthcare systems. Childhood immunization has improved children’s health conditions. It contributes towards enhancing economic growth due to reduced spending on medications for unvaccinated children (Lrhmann, 2017).

Considering another view, children’s vaccination is a form of investment in human capital. Improving children’s health conditions results in higher productivity and thus more earnings when they become adults. This technique promotes the success of countries that provide services to ensure immunization than one that does not. Despite the long delay between a child immunization with the standard vaccines and entering work, estimates that child immunization leads to about 18 percent return around, which is almost the same as the rate primary education contributes as an investment in human capital (Ventola, 2016). Consequently, ensuring access to immunization for every child and other investment aspects would create a great society with a high level of human capital, thus reducing poverty.

Parents who fear having their children vaccinated should know that immunization is safe and effective because it is only given to children after careful research performed by scientists, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. According to Pediatric Doctors, Saman Herath, Tusara Kudagammana, Tisha Sarathchandra, Thoranage Gamage, and Mageen Razik, before being released, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) often test and approve the vaccines. In this regard, immunization is safe. However, some children might experience minor side effects like a slight fever, site pain, and cough. In several instances, the dangers of diseases are much greater than the risk from the side effect of the vaccine. This adds to the reasons for parents to ensure that every child gets vaccinated. Should Childhood Immunization be Mandatory?

Even with the positive impacts of childhood immunization, some people still present a compliance spectrum with having children vaccinated. The individuals often put forward several factors for their opposing views and hesitancy. Some people reject childhood immunization due to their religious beliefs. The beliefs are always linked to parents, and it is challenging to convince them to change their views against vaccination. Most people who oppose this vaccination due to their religious beliefs claim that the components used in producing the vaccines, especially animal-derived gelatin, and human fetus, go against their beliefs, thus a significant concern.

While there is evidence showing that vaccines are safe, other parents still object to the vaccines for fear that their children may develop autism. This has, over the years, created a controversy that surrounds the use of vaccines, thus increasing parents’ opposition towards childhood immunization (Herath, 2018). Most people speculate about the causes of autism, and as a result, they associate them with vaccines that children receive at a younger age. In this regard, the individuals constantly question the role of immunization and its associated risk factors to children. Further, individuals claim that the vaccines could affect genetic predisposition and other factors associated with the condition’s occurrence.

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A new study conducted to assess the misguided beliefs that drive vaccine opposition in the United States indicated that about 20 percent of Americans negatively view vaccines. This has been associated with misperceptions that make individuals pose negative vaccine beliefs (Ventola, 2016). No doubt, such kinds of beliefs and attitudes spread from one generation to another. As a result, some people oppose anything to do with childhood immunization because it has been the trend, and they are not willing to go against their belief event if they have experienced the consequences of not vaccinating their children.

Various strategies must be put in place to overcome the opposition to childhood immunization. First, there is a great need for healthcare professionals to provide adequate information on the importance of vaccines and their associated side effects. This will enable individuals to understand why children require immunization regardless of their beliefs (Lehmann, 2017).

Second, it is essential to develop effective interventions that include counseling the public members, especially parents, to eliminate negative attitudes. Lastly, governments should improve access to vaccinations as individuals in disadvantaged socioeconomic groups might experience challenges that hinder them from ensuring that their children are vaccinated.

Childhood immunization is vital to every child due to its benefits that range from health to economic status. The vaccinations improve the immune systems of minors and reduce the mortality rate. For many years, diseases such as measles have proved to be the leading causes of health issues in various countries; however, improved access to vaccination has significantly reduced the problem. Therefore, childhood immunization should be compulsory. Achieving this will require providing adequate information on the importance of vaccines and their access to everyone. Should Childhood Immunization be Mandatory?