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The Necessity of Vaccination

By Anna Dehnke
21 Apr 2015

The introduction of vaccines was one of the biggest leaps in medical history.  To think that one could be permanently immune to a specific disease was incredibly enticing to the population at large.  There has been recent controversy, however, on whether or not vaccines are the best option for protecting individuals against disease, especially in young children.

Many parents are faced with deciding whether or not to vaccinate their children at a young age, which poses some serious ethical questions: Is my child too young to be vaccinated?  Will my child be able to handle the amount of vaccine being administered?  How might my child not being vaccinated affect other children?

There are usually very strong opinions on both sides of this topic which do not allow for a vast amount of acceptance or understanding for the other.  In his CNN op-ed, Dr. Snajay Gupta discusses his view of vaccines as incredibly necessary in our society.  Many doctors agree with Dr. Gupta because of the wide success rate of vaccines and the damaging effects of the disease if it is present in the population.  With the continuing advancement of effective vaccines, people in the medical world are becoming more adamant about the necessity of vaccinations, especially in young children.  Because of their active and interactive nature, children are at a very high risk for certain contagious illnesses and should arguably be vaccinated as early as possible.

On the other hand, some parents of young children worry about whether vaccines are completely reliable and safe.  Some children have compromised immune systems which may inhibit the safety of vaccines while other children may have adverse reactions to vaccines that are unable to be detected before the vaccine is administered.  These concerns are common among parents who choose not to have their children vaccinated.  Although some individuals do have adverse reactions to vaccines, the likelihood that these reactions will occur is, arguably, low enough to take the risk and protect oneself against harmful diseases.

Which side of this issue is more reasonable and ethically correct?  How might we be able to reassure parents about the benefits and safety of vaccines?  With the continuing evolution of viruses and other diseases, will vaccines become unreasonably difficult to develop and administer?

Anna graduated from DePauw University in 2016 with a major in Biology and a minor in Spanish. With a passion for working with animals, specifically horses, she is pursuing a career in animal welfare.
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