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Essay on Why Parents Should Vaccinate Their Children

6 pages
1492 words
Boston College
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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The first form of primitive vaccination was known as variolation which was a discovery of the Chinese. The objective of variolation was to avert smallpox by exposing healthy people to tissues from the scabs the disease caused. Smallpox was a killer disease during the 17th century, and the use of variolation was extended to Africa, Europe, and America to contain the virus. Edward Jenner developed the first vaccine for smallpox in 1796 whereby he immunized patients using matter from cowpox pustules (Plotkin 13). As a result, he is known to have ushered in the concept of immunization. By 1890 scientists had a better understanding of diseases and by then Louis Pasteur and Emily Behring had discovered vaccines against rabies, diphtheria, cholera, typhoid, and tetanus (Plotkin 18). By 1920, vaccines were globally available which dramatically reduced deaths. The year 1955 saw the introduction of the polio vaccine which has helped in reducing the number of cases to almost complete eradication. In 1980, smallpox was wholly eradicated one of the most significant achievements. Currently, many innovative techniques drive research for vaccines. Scientists are now even directing their research for vaccines to focus on non-infectious conditions.

One of the many important decisions that parents have to make regarding their children is their health. Parents have to choose whether to vaccinate their children or not. Unfortunately, some parents have a lot of misconceptions and confusions about vaccines due to poor understanding of how they work. Some are hesitant about having their children immunized for several reasons. Firstly, some believe that vaccines are unnecessary primarily because most of the diseases they protect children against are no more. Also, there have been concerns that too many vaccines might overwhelm the immune systems of babies while others argue that the side effects of some vaccines are worse than actual diseases. There are other parents' who believe that there is a link between vaccines and autism and also that vaccines contain toxins like aluminum and mercury. However, vaccines are vital, and the following benefits elaborate why parents should vaccinate their children.

Firstly there are many vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, whooping cough, chickenpox and polio which are still a threat. The diseases continue to infect young ones resulting in paralysis of limbs, disability, brain damage and sometimes ultimate death. Safe and effective immunizations have eliminated or brought to close extinction of some of the killer diseases hence saving lives (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention). Although some countries have put in place measures to contain these infectious diseases, there are other parts of the globe where they are still prevalent. Such diseases may be brought in the safe countries by international travelers without immunization, or children can contract the infections if they travel in areas with disease outbreaks. Children are therefore exposed even in the safe countries hence it is essential for parents to vaccinate them to save their lives.

Newborn babies have antibodies they initially get from their mothers which gives them immunity to many diseases (Marshall and Stuart 67). Nonetheless, such protection is short lived and only lasts for a maximum of twelve months. Furthermore, young children lack the maternal immunity against some diseases which are vaccine preventable thus failure to immunize young ones exposes their body to disease germs. The body of such a child may not be strong enough to fight such diseases. Vaccines stimulate their bodies immune system and hence protect them against subsequent infections (Marshall and Stuart 67). Therefore, immunizations are crucial to promoting health and removing major obstacles to human development.

Vaccinations are considered to be safe and effective for use. Healthcare professionals, scientists, and doctors undertake extensive testing and careful review of all available information before approving a vaccine for administration (Immunization Action Coalition). Further, scientists and doctors make regular updates following the availability of new information concerning the vaccine. Immunizations may be painful especially due to injections however such discomfort is far less traumatic compared to the effects of the diseases that vaccines protect against (Offit and Moser 3). Additionally, the cost of immunization is less compared to the cost of getting treatment for the infectious diseases.

Immunizations maintain the health of young ones hence saving money and time for parents. Vaccinations will protect kids from severe illnesses and complications caused by vaccine-preventable diseases. The cost of infections is quite substantial in the forms of expensive medical bills, lasting disabilities and long-term care. Besides, a child may miss school for an extended period which means lost time from work or businesses to care for them hence a burden to the family unit financially.

Diseases can deprive off a society its future generations. Vaccinations play an essential role in giving future generations the chance to live free of infections. According to the World Health Organization, vaccinations avert between two to three million deaths every year. Immunizations eliminate or contain some diseases like smallpox which had the potential to wipe out thousands of people (Marshall and Stuart 67). As a result, there is no more administration of vaccinations for smallpox following its eradication. Children that have not been vaccinated can transmit diseases to others who may not be able to receive immunizations due to allergies or those with weak immune systems from chronic diseases such as cancer or newborns that are extremely young to get a full immunization. Failure to vaccinate children exposes such vulnerable people who could ultimately result in long-term complications. It is essential for parents to ensure complete vaccination for those children who can get immunized. Not only does this protect family members but it additionally averts the spread of these diseases to friends and those in the society at large. As a result, continuous immunizations for children guarantee safety for future generations thus ensuring continuity.

Immunizations are essential as they mean the difference between life and death. Between 2000 and 2008, there was a reduction in global deaths from 750,000 to 164,000 every year (World Health Organization). Consequently, immunizations have an extensive reach with immediate impact on communities. Vaccinations play a crucial role in bringing to an end severe effects of diseases. Ignoring or reducing immunizations would lead to the reoccurrence of many preventable diseases that are currently contained by vaccines. Regular vaccination is the only way to maintain infections at bay until their total elimination from the general population. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Japan reduced vaccinations for pertussis in 1976 following false rumors that the vaccine was not safe. As a result, the country experienced a severe whooping cough epidemic leading to more than 41 deaths and 13,000 cases of pertussis (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention). It is therefore crucial for parents to ensure high vaccination rates in a community to avoid outbreaks which have various devastating effects of such infectious diseases. Similarly, failure to complete an immunization schedule exposes a child to severe infections thus parents should ensure a full vaccination against all immunizable diseases.

Vaccination is such an essential process for the survival of newborns. Many organizations such as the United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF), Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), have a loud voice in recommending parents to protect children through vaccinations.

In conclusion, development of vaccines has been a long process. However, it has been a great success in public health. Through vaccines, some infectious diseases such as smallpox are no more while others like polio are near elimination. Moreover, the number of children experiencing the effects of vaccine-preventable diseases is at an all-time low. Parents have had various misconceptions concerning vaccinations. However, the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks. Starting from saving children's lives and those of other people, saving money and time and protecting future generations. Additionally, vaccines are safe and have the full backing of the world's major health organizations. Thus parents should, therefore, ensure their children get timely immunizations for all vaccinations as per healthcare professionals schedule. Vaccines will ensure children do not endure the effects of vaccine-preventable diseases as their catastrophic consequences can lead to long life illness, disability, or even death. There are more advancements in science which facilitate the development of safer vaccines, thus more effective protection against diseases..

Works Cited

Centres for Disease control and prevention. "Why immunize?" Vaccines and immunizations, 10 Mar. 2017, Accessed 11 Jan. 2018.

Immunization Action Coalition. Top ten reasons to protect your child by vaccinating, Immunization Action Coalition, 8 July 2017, Accessed 11 Jan. 2018.

Marshall, Jean, and Sue Stuart. "Nutrition and health." Child development, Heinemann Educational Publishers, 2001, p. 68.

Offit, Paul A., and Charlotte A. Moser. "What are vaccines." Vaccines and your child: Separating fact from fiction, Columbia University Press, 2012.

Plotkin, Stanely A. "Edward Jenner's role in the introduction of smallpox vaccine." History of vaccine development, Springer, 2011, pp. 13-18.

World Health Organization. "Importance of immunization programmes." Introduction to vaccine safety, World Health Organization, Accessed 11 Jan. 2018.

World Health Organization. "Immunization." Health topics, World Health Organization, Accessed 11 Jan. 2018.

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