The Pros and Cons of Immunization
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In recent years, a debate over whether children need to be vaccinated against certain diseases has heated up. Concerned parents responded to a now debunked study that autism could be linked to the MMR vaccine by not vaccinating their children.
Meanwhile, disease outbreaks, such as the January 2015 measles cases that were traced back to Disneyland, have the medical community worried that the “no vaccination” movement is endangering the population as a whole.
Via Flickr – by El Alvi
Vaccines are an important development in modern medical history, and their benefits shouldn’t be ignored. While parents are right to demand the safety of any vaccine, medication, or other medical treatment being recommended for their children, it is important to understand the wide-reaching benefits of immunization.
To provide a closer look at both sides of the immunization debate, here are a few pros and cons of vaccines.
They protect children from diseases. Today, vaccines help prevent many terrible diseases, including polio, measles, whooping cough, and more. Prior to vaccines, children died from many of these diseases, but immunization has made them preventable.
They are safe and effective. Parents have been misled by information indicating vaccines can cause the diseases they’re meant to prevent or cause other diseases. The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases asserts that vaccines “are among the safest medical products available.”
They prevent the spread of disease. When more people are vaccinated against a disease, fewer people can catch the disease. When fewer people can actually contract an illness because they’ve been vaccinated against it, the spread of the disease can be easier to control, manage, and end.
They can save time and money. Treating vaccine-preventable diseases is costly. Parents must spend time away from work and medical bills can pile up quickly. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can also lead to permanent disabilities that require long-term care.
Via Flickr – by NIAID
Parents should get to decide what treatments their children receive. Because some vaccination laws can prevent unvaccinated school-age children from attending public school, some parents feel pressured to have their children vaccinated. One driving force of the “no vaccine” movement is that parents want to make decisions about their child’s health without feeling like the government is intervening.
They can cause side effects. Most side effects that result from vaccines are mild and usually present as soreness at the injection site. And though they’re rare, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that allergic reactions are possible. However, the organization also emphasizes that doctors and other medical staff have the training to treat them.
The debate over immunization continues, but many government organizations and medical professionals make it clear that the consequences of not vaccinating vastly outweigh any risks of vaccinating, and can be devastating for everyone. When a child is vaccinated, not only are they protected from contracting a terrible disease, but they also play an important role in protecting others from getting it.