Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vaccines, Some Statistics And a Balanced Argument

Is it worth the risk?

When comparing statistics, I think that it is very clear which is the bigger risk between immunizing or denying a child vaccines against common ailments. As an example, according to a report from the Pediatric Academics Society in 2003, an estimated 10.5 million instances of illness and 33,000 deaths annually are prevented because of vaccinations (Vaccines, 2010). In the argument against mandated vaccinations, or immunization in general, you will find that 30,000 cases of adverse effect resulting from vaccines have been reported since 1991, 13% of which were considered “serious ,” to define, resulting in hospitalization, life-threatening, fatal , or causing permanent disability (Vaccines, 2010). In comparing those statistics the more serious risk is clearly in declining the treatment.

In argument against vaccines (I chose the most valid and plausible):

Mandates for school admission are a violation of the first amendment when immunization is unacceptable within the religious facility or following to which a family participates (Vaccines, 2010).

Regulation of food, water and wastes coupled with nutrition and hygiene are sufficient in the prevention of common illness (Vaccines, 2010).

Certain vaccines may cause the illness it is seeking to prevent, lymphatic complications due to immune suppression, brain and spinal cord inflammation, and does not protect against all strains of disease and illness (Vaccines, 2010).

The immune system is weakened by immunization and children need to be able to build antibodies naturally (Vaccines, 2010).

In argument for vaccines (by way of counter-arguments):

No one has the right to endanger the public because of philosophical or religious beliefs, especially in public schools that are federally regulated. Those opposed can choose private schools. However, all 50 states of which mandate immunization also have exceptions of some form for such a reason (Vaccines, 2010).

Hygiene, nutrition and the proper regulation of water, food and waste are promoted similarly in Victoria Australia. In 2006, there were 424 reported instances of influenza. In 2007 immunization was reported to have experienced a dip in popularity, incidentally the reported instances of influenza rose to 1,590 reported instances (Medew, 2008)! As an example, what makes society as safe as it can be is still not as effective as vaccinations and therefore declining is much less likely to protect you from illness or, even death.

The studies that anti-vaccination advocates rely on are often biased, exaggerated and offer false data (Vaccinations, 2010). In 2010 the journal article that sparked the fear of a link between autism and immunization was retracted by the journal that printed it in 1998, The British Medical Journal, and in 2011, released a new article chronicling “elaborate fraud” of the 1998 writer (Vaccinations, 2010). In regards to not protecting against all strains of an illness, HPV was most commonly referenced in the anti-vaccine campaign (Vaccinations, 2010). Every year in the US there are 10,000 diagnoses and 3,700 deaths attributed to cervical cancer. HPV causes two types of cervical cancer, as the second leading cancer killer of women, is it really worth the wager (Vaccines, 2010)?

Vaccines give the natural immune system a boost by introducing the toxin/virus to the body in a safe manner, by deactivating it first. Vaccines seem to be more natural and safer than antibiotics being that antibiotics promote tolerance and build up in the body sometimes having adverse cosmetic effects; allergies are also a possibility of anything meant to cure (Alters & Alters, 2008).

Do I immunize?

I have always and will always immunize. I made the benefits and risks an independent study (as well as other health concerns) through out the duration of my first pregnancy because I was very irrationally afraid I would lose my son. Also, the doctor's office I was frequenting, as well as the hospital I delivered at, provided literature about the different immunizations offered and when. I think the bigger risk is not immunizing. I am comforted by the statistics. I don't think vaccines are 100% safe just as antibiotics are not, but I will not gamble on my children's health. I would rather get every vaccine offered and have them be tired or sore for a day or a week and never have to deal with rubella or polio.


Alters & Alters (2008) Hoboken, NJ. Wiley & Sons. p.526

Injection of good sense. (2010, July 20). The Globe and Mail, p. A14.

Medew, J. (2008, October 27). Don't dodge the needle, doctors say. The Age, p. 3.

Vaccines. (2010, January 07). Retrieved from http://vaccines.procon.org/

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