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Should Vaccinations Be Mandatory Across America

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Across America, the question of whether or not to vaccinate is in high debate. The problem controversial dispute first begainitiatedn when a British doctor composed a paper with flawed problematic research claiming that there were vaccine ingredients that caused autism in the children who received them. This has caused a large decrease in the number of parents that choose to vaccinate their children, which in turn has caused outbreaks of diseases in America that were once eradicated, specifically the measles. If vaccinations are not made mandatory, it is likely that America will see diseases that are only found in third world countries and these diseases will run rampant. Mandatory vaccinations in America for newborns and children prior to starting school will help cut down ondecrease the chances of children contracting diseases. Also by eEnsuring that all teenagers and adults young and old of working age are up to date on all vaccinations prior to beginning new jobs will also help cut down onreduce the spread of diseases. Mandatory vaccinations will help decrease the cost, presence and consequences of preventable diseases.

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Should receiving protection from vaccine preventable diseases be mandatory? What if it meant protecting your father, mother, sister, brother, or another loved one who could not receive that protection? Vaccinations should be made mandatory for children, adolescents, teenagers, and adults who are not up-to-date on their vaccinations unless contraindicated for a medically legitimate reason. This would help prevent the resurfacing and spread of previously eradicated diseases and help keep our children, elderly, and sick healthy. Healthcare costs could also be kept lower in the United States since vaccine preventable diseases are exactlyprecisely that – preventable.

According to The New York Times, the initial problem began in 1998 when a medical journal published a paper called The Lancet, authored by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. In his paper, Wakefield claimed that he had performed studies linking the MMR vaccine, or measles vaccine, to autism. Since the paper was published the claims have been followed by thousands of people, including some of the rich and famous such as Jenny McCarthy (Study Linking, 2011). McCarthy herself has claimed that her son developed autism after he received his MMR vaccination (Jenny McCarthy, 2015). McCarthy’s claim has led many people to believe that vaccines truly do cause autism or other medical conditions. Due to this popular widespread belief, many parents today are choosing not to vaccinate their children. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that America is seeing a return in the measles, unsurprisingly. The lack of vaccinations has led to America’s largest measles outbreak since 1992. As of June 6, 2019, 1022 cases of measles were discovered and reported. This is a substantial increase since the year 2000 when no known case of the measles existed in the United States (Measles, 2019). Comment by Renae Davis: Is there a name for this journal?

The claim linking vaccines and autism has caused a noticeable decline in MMR vaccinations despite the fact that the studies were proven to be altered, the link proven to not exist, and the doctor who wrote the paper and conducted the studies lost his ability to practice medicine (Study Linking, 2011). Human kind would rather believe an actress or a speedy Google search with thousands of alterable responses claiming vaccines to be unsafe. Parents should begin speaking with educated healthcare providers and make informed decisions about their children’s health versus simply believing something found online. However, reiterating, the link between vaccines and autism has in fact been proven to not exist through other studies performed correctly and reviewed (Thimerosal and Vaccines, 2018).

One very interesting story published by the CDC on their website, was that of a six year old Oregon boy who fell while playing outside one day and received a cut to his forehead. The boy’s parents, who had chosen not to vaccinate him, took care of the wound at home for a few days until the boy began having muscle spasms and difficulty breathing. The parents then called 911 and the young boy was airlifted to a children’s hospital. It was there that the boy was diagnosed with tetanus, which is caused by bacteria and affects the body’s nervous system and muscles. The tetanus was causing such severe spasms of the boy’s body and diaphragm that he had to be chemically sedated and paralyzed to intubate him, by which a breathing tube is placed into the throat through the mouth. Following intubation, the boy was placed on a ventilator, a machine to breathe for himdesigned to….. He was then placed in an intensive care unit where he received his DTaP vaccination, which helps protect against tetanus, as well as receiving various antibiotics to help fight off the infection. Despite the extensive measures that were taken, in addition to silencing ear plugs and maintaining a dark room due to his sensitivity to stimulation that would worsen his muscle spasms, the boy’s condition deteriorated. He developed high blood pressure, an increaseding heart rate, e and rise in body temperature and even opisthotonus, or arching of the back and neck into a “bridge” position. He received numerous medications to help manage his symptoms. Since he was spending a lengthy amount of time on a ventilator, the tube through his mouth into his throat was removed and he had a hole cut unto his throat through the front of his neck through which another breathing tube was inserted via a process called tracheostomy. After 49 days with a breathing tube in his throat, 39 of those spent on the ventilator itself, the boy had his breathing tube removed. He spent 57 days in the hospital and 47 days in the ICU before a 17 day stay in a rehab facility. The boy’s total hospital bill was nearly $812,000 which . That amount does not include his rehab, follow up or air transport to the children’s hospital. To most doctors and pro-vaccine Americans, the most unfortunate part of the entire story was that despite their son’s extensive critical state due to tetanus, the boy’s parents refused to have their son vaccinated any further, including a second DTaP vaccine (Guzman-Cottrill, Lancioni, Eriksson & Choo, 2019). Comment by Renae Davis: Name the process and then describe the process… bc here im left still wondering what a tracheostomy is…

This young boy from Oregon is not the only person affected by parents’ decision to not have their child vaccinated. There are people across America who are not able to receive vaccinations, due to an allergy to the vaccine itself or because they may have a weakened immune system secondary to cancer or another chronic medical condition. Contracting a vaccine preventable disease could potentially kill any number of vulnerable people.

If parents are continually choosing to not vaccinate their children and measures are not taken to stop the issue of spreading diseases, these preventable diseases that have been managed, or even eradicated could again return to the United States. Dr. Greg Wallace, Team Lead, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Polio, Epidemiology Branch, Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases sums up the risk American’s take every day with continuously decreased number of vaccinations, “Or, A visitor to the United States could travel here while infected…” (Keeping, 2014, para 2).

 Vaccinations should become mandatory for all children and adults. If vaccinations become mandatory in the United States, the entire country would likely see begin seeing a decrease in the spread of these preventable diseases. This will decrease the chance of a disease spreading if it is brought into the U.S. by another live carrier. Mandatory vaccinations will also help ensure the best well-being of America’s children, babies, elderly, and others who are not able to receive vaccinations. The protection of health does not include how much money treating preventable diseases costs the U.S. Healthcare system, which is over one trillion dollars. In a statement by Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of American Public Health Association, he states, “Although there is a wealth of evidence supporting the value of prevention as a way to save lives and save money, the majority of every healthcare dollar goes towards treating illnesses.” (Preventable, 2009, para 9). One analogy that could be used is obesity. It would be cheaper for one person, to eat right and exercise than it would be for that same person to maintain an unhealthy lifestyle, develop diabetes, and pay for doctor’s appointments and insulin or medication. Thise same concept applies to goes for vaccinations. Preventing diseases throughby vaccinations could help alleviate some of the cost caused by treating preventable diseases. Comment by Renae Davis: Im confused on this part.. Comment by Renae Davis: Maybe mention how healthy citizens would have to help pay for others treatments through taxes…

Initially, newborns should be vaccinated prior to being discharged from the hospital. A newborn should not be allowed to be discharged until he/sheit has received theirits’ vaccinations. Per the CDC’s website, newborns do gain some immunity from their mother, also known as passive immunity. However, this is not a long lasting immunity. The human body at best is able to fight off something that is recognized. This “recognition” can come from introducing the body’s immune system to a dead or dormant disease, known as vaccine-induced immunity (Immunity Types, 2017). Most newborns are exposed to numerous people in its’ first few days and weeks of life. People who are not vaccinated can carry diseases that remain dormant in their body and go unrecognized. Even if one unvaccinated person came in contact with a newborn, the baby could contract a virus very easily. Not only does vaccinating newborn babies protect their lives, but it also helps protect their parents or caregivers’ lives as well. Making sure that children are vaccinated prior to leaving the hospital is just one step in the right direction for America in ensuring the health of its’ citizens. Comment by Renae Davis: Need transition statement from babies to adults for next paragraph

Secondly, vaccinations should be mandatory for children prior to beginning school with zero no options for exemptions. Some would argue that this could potentially infringe upon religious rights, however, healthcare workers must receive and be up to date on vaccinations before starting school and becoming employed. This isIn doing so, it is not only to ensure the health and wellness of healthcare professionals, but it helps to also to ensure the health of their patients as well by preventing cross contamination-, or the spreading of a bacteria or disease from one person, or object, to another. During the school year, every day cChildren go to school every day during the school year and are in contact with many other students and teachers. Think of how quickly the common cold spreads, andor even more so the flu during flu season. This is how easily one unvaccinated child could spread a preventable disease. While germs are everywhere and sicknesses cannot be eliminated completely, they can be prevented and managed just as diseases can be if they are dealt with before the problem arrises. This is how easily one unvaccinated child could spread a preventable disease.

Lastly, mandating vaccinations before entering and leaving the United States would help even further to cut downdiminish even further on diseases being reintroduced into the country from other foreign countries. This can be decided upon and enforced by the International Health Regulations in the World Health Organization (About IHR, 2017). It can be argued that vaccinations are not necessary because the diseases that they protect against are no longer in the United States (Should Any, n.d.). However, there has been a recent outbreak of Measles in Rockland County, New York linked to someone contracting the measles while visiting Israel, then returning to New York and spreading it (Goldschmidt, 2019). Measles is just one disease on a list of many that can easily be brought to the United States, including Polio, Rubella, and Yellow Fever to name a few (Traveler’s Health, 2019).

Since the measles outbreak in New York began, one of the most drastic actions taken has been banning religious exemptions from receiving vaccinations. This action consists of an established order which bans any unvaccinated person under the age of 18 from being in a public place, defined in the news release by Goldschmidt (2019) as, “a place where more than 10 persons are intended to congregate” (para 10). Any person found in violation of this new rule will be sent to the District Attorney’s office and subject to up to six months in jail or a $500 fine. This drastic measure has been taken to control New York’s new public health crisis. The ban is legal, according to the CDC, when an outbreak such as Rockland County’s occurs (Goldschmidt, 2019).

If all steps were taken to make vaccinations mandatory and the law mandating them was enforced, the cost of the vaccinations would be a concern for many people;, however, many insurance plans cover vaccinations completely. People who do not have insurance coverage can contact a local health department who can be of assistance with financial information (How to pay, n.d.).

The ban on unvaccinated minors in public places has been the biggest step taken in order to reduce the effects of people not receiving vaccinations or vaccinating their children. One suggestion made by those who are not necessarily opposed to vaccinations, is to simply delay vaccinations instead of refuse them all together, but this proposal still poses a problem because there are children that are left to susceptible diseases during the extended time between vaccines (Parents, 2019. Para 9). The goal for others is to have the option to stop their child’s vaccinations all together, which would leave a child’s immune system very vulnerable if they ever came in contact with the virus of a vaccine preventable disease. These people may argue that natural immunity is better than a vaccine produced immunity, which the CDC states is in fact true, but the risks that accompany contracting a disease in order to acquire a natural immunity to it far outweigh the risks of receiving vaccines (Parents, 2019. Para 16).

In conclusion, research has shown that vaccines are safe and why should vaccinations be mandatory (Study Linking, 2011). Ironically, as vaccination rates decrease, disease rates have increased. It is much easier to prevent a disease than to treat a disease that could have been prevented. If vaccinations are not made to be mandatory then the health of all Americans, specifically children and those with compromised immune systems, will be put at risk and America will begin to see the return of previously eradicated diseases.

 

 

Works Cited

  1. About IHR. (2017, October 04). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/ihr/about/en/
  2. Biologics Evaluation and Research. (2018, February 1). Thimerosal and Vaccines. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/safety-availability-biologics/thimerosal-and-vaccines#nolink
  3. Candid. (2009, November 20). Preventable Diseases Costing U.S. Billions, Report Finds. Retrieved from https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/preventable-diseases-costing-u.s.-billions-report-finds
  4. Goldschmidt, D. (2019, March 27). New York county takes ‘extremely unusual’ step to ban unvaccinated minors from public places amid measles outbreak. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/26/health/rockland-new-york-measles-unvaccinated-ban-bn/index.html
  5. Guzman-Cottrill, J. A., Lancioni, C., Eriksson, C., Choo, Y., & Liko, J. (2019, March 8). Notes from the Field: Tetanus in an Unvaccinated Child – Oregon, 2017 | MMWR. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6809a3.htm
  6. How to Pay. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.vaccines.gov/getting/pay
  7. Jenny McCarthy: ‘We’re Not An Anti-Vaccine Movement … We’re Pro-Safe Vaccine’. (2015, March 23). Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/jenny-mccarthy-were-not-an-anti-vaccine-movement-were-pro-safe-vaccine/
  8. Keeping the U.S. Polio-Free | About | CDC. (2014, March 19). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/about/24-7/protectingpeople/polio/us_polio_free.html
  9. Measles | Cases and Outbreaks | CDC. (2019, June 10). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html
  10. Parents | Infant Immunizations Frequently Asked Questions | CDC. (2019, March 1). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/parent-questions.html
  11. Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://vaccines.procon.org/
  12. The New York Times. (2011, January 06). Study Linking Vaccine to Autism Is Called Fraud. Retrieved from https://archive.nytimes.com/query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage-9C02E7DC1E3BF935A35752C0A9679D8B63.html
  13. Travelers’ Health. (2019, June 10). Retrieved from https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
  14. Vaccines: Vac-Gen/Immunity Types. (2017, March 10). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/immunity-types.htm

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