Mandate: Vaccinate

Why Vaccines Should be Mandatory for Everyon

Story By: Laura Fouad, Copy Editor

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Almost everyone dreads going into the doctor’s office to get a shot, and many people avoid getting one for the simple fact that it stings. However, choosing to not get vaccinated is a much worse alternative than a two to three second pain in your arm. Vaccines provide active acquired immunity to a particular disease, and it has saved many lives in the process. In fact, since the invention of vaccines, preventable disease rates have gone down dramatically and prevented more than 2.5 million deaths each year (according to [email protected], a UN Foundation partner organization). There has been countless debates on whether or not vaccines are worth the side effects (or whether they help at all), but many studies have proven that vaccines are too beneficial to pass up. Getting a shot can prevent a person from getting a disease and potentially eradicate a disease from the world, yet, no mandatory federal vaccination laws exist. Simply, vaccines should be mandatory or everyone.

Vaccines save lives. Around 33 million cases of childhood illnesses were prevented between 1994 and 2014 due to the administering of vaccinations, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It’s not like a magical cure for a disease, but it’s close. Vaccines are like a training course for the immune system – the ingredients in the shot prepare the body to fight a particular infection so that when the bacteria or a virus enters the body, antibodies are able to fight them off. Even for people who can’t be vaccinated, if everyone around them is vaccinated, unvaccinated people are protected (a term called herd immunity). If vaccinations, which help prevent a person from getting a disease, become a requirement, then the world could potentially become much more disease-free.

Not only does getting a shot prevent a person from catching an infection or disease, but it can also potentially eradicate a disease from the world entirely. Children are no longer vaccinated for smallpox because, due to the vaccine, the last case was in Somalia, 1977 (ProCon.org). Recently, there were 16,316 deaths from polio yearly in the United States, but after the vaccination was distributed in 2012, there were no reported cases of polio. And if those statistics aren’t enough: diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, and hib were decreased by 99% because of vaccinations. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone was required to get vaccinations – the amount of vaccine-preventable deaths would diminish completely.

Though there are a multitude of studies pertaining to the benefits of getting vaccinated, many people still believe the risks/side effects outweigh the advantages. They also believe that there is a link between vaccinations and autism. These are just plain misconceptions that have been proven to be incorrect. According to the CDC, all vaccines carry a risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction (Anaphylaxis), however, it is only in about one per million children. Rumors have been spread from a 1998 study that the MMR vaccine is linked to autism, but even though the rumor has not gone away, the study has, as it was found to be seriously flawed and retracted. Lastly, for anyone who says vaccines are too expensive, choosing to go unvaccinated and having to potentially spend the money to treat the disease is much more costly. Thus, the advantages of a vaccine is much more abundant than the disadvantages.

Even though vaccines are already making a positive impact, it could make an even greater one if getting vaccinated was mandatory. Vaccine-preventable diseases have not disappeared so vaccination is still necessary. A little pain for a greater reward.

 

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