Government Mandated Vaccinations

Word Count
Northern Kentucky University
ENG 291
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Ali Moore
Professor Matt Birkenhauer
ENG 291
1 November 2015
Government Mandated Vaccinations
Argument One Essay
Mandatory vaccinations for children are making headlines nationwide, causing a
controversy in many states. Proponents say that vaccination is safe and one of the greatest
health developments of the 20th century. They point out that illnesses including smallpox,
polio, and whooping cough, are now prevented by vaccination and millions of children’s
lives are saved. However, opponents say that children’s immune systems can deal with
most infections naturally, and that injecting questionable vaccine ingredients into a child
may cause side effects, including seizures, paralysis, and death. As someone who has
suffered from an adverse reaction due to a meningitis vaccination for college entrance, I
feel strongly that the government should not intervene in these personal medical choices.
Vaccination should not be a government decision nor should it be required in order to
attend an educational institution.
The mother of a child from Pasadena, California that was infected during the
Disneyland outbreak doesn’t view the vaccination issue as one of parental autonomy. She
stated, “We’re not talking about something like paper diapers versus cloth diapers or
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formula versus breast milk. This is not a parenting decision that affects your child
exclusively. It affects the lives of every other child and person your child comes in
contact with.” Proponents of mandatory vaccinations like this mother believe that
vaccines protect the “herd.” The Department of Health and Human Services explains,
“herd immunity” as when a critical portion of a community is immunized against a
contagious disease, most members of the community are protected against that disease
because there is little opportunity for an outbreak. Even those who are not eligible for
certain vaccines including infants, pregnant women, and immunocompromised
individuals get some protection because the spread of contagious disease is contained.
Dr. Marian Michaels, a professor of pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases at
the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, at the University of Pittsburgh Medial Center
stated, “There are just no two ways around it, the science is on the side of immunization.
We don’t have a choice of whether or not we put a seat belt on. And I think we’re at the
point where we need to say you have to vaccinate your child. In an ideal world you would
not have to make a law.” Individuals such as Dr. Michaels who believe in mandatory
vaccinations feel the science is behind vaccines for many reasons. These reasons include