Can you imagine living a life where disease and sickness were a common epidemic? Long ago, entire communities were constantly falling under devastating and deadly sicknesses everywhere. People were helpless and did not know how to stop this sickness from killing loved ones. Thanks to experimental sciences, these devastating diseases have been contained and allow the majority of the U.S. population to live in a world where we can choose to live without deadly epidemics. These experimental sciences called vaccinations to come with life-saving benefits but may also be accompanied with huge risks.
The history of the vaccines began in 1796 with an England country doctor named Edward Jenner. Edward Jenner took pus from a cowpox lesion on a milkmaid’s hand and injected it in an healthy 8 year old boy. Jenner discovered “that the cow-pox protects the human constitution from the infection of smallpox”. (Stern & Markel, 2005 p.2) Edward Jenner found success in this experiment, so he published a sixty-four page pamphlet about his experiments which he titled, “Vaccine”.
(Nardo, 2002, p.33)
After many experiments, the idea of vaccinology was formed. The vaccination became such a necessity for other countries, the U.S. President Thomas Jefferson and Harvard professor Benjamin Waterhouse sent for the smallpox vaccination from Europe to be injected into citizens in the colonies to demonstrate their forward-looking stance toward science and to prove their commitment to the health of their citizens. (Stern & Markel 2005 p.5).
It is not a cure for these deadly diseases, but it does provide immunity to vaccinated people so that they will have a lesser chance of getting sick from fatal diseases.
As we research the benefits of getting your child vaccinated, the one common assertion is that it will help keep your child and the community safe. At one point in time, there was absolutely nothing that anyone could do to be immune from deathly diseases. When loved ones became sick, others accepted death as a part of what happens if you were sick.
Today, it is a relief to know that if we become vaccinated, we heighten our chances of being healthy and disease-free. It is important to note that child vaccination is an ethical issue according to the article “Ethics and Childhood Vaccination Policy in the United States.” “The ethical implications concerning vaccine-related public health policy are numerous and at the forefront of much recent discussion- for example, mandating vaccines for school entry and excluding unvaccinated children from school in the case of outbreaks.” (Hendrix, et al, 2016 p.274) Ethically, we would be doing a service to our neighbors, schools, and communities if we were to support vaccination.
Public schools inhibit huge populations of children which gives schools a reason to favor having your child vaccinated because it lessens the chance of having a disease outbreak in the school. Although families can send their children to school not vaccinated with a signed note from the doctor’s office, there is greater concern from families that it serves as a danger to the rest of the school population. There are some risks to vaccinations. Vaccinations are not one hundred percent effective: a vaccinated individual still takes a risk when injecting different chemicals into their body. There is a risk their body may reject all or some of the different chemicals that are injected.
A person who is receiving the chickenpox vaccination still has a small chance of getting chickenpox. Another example would be a person who received the flu shot could still get the flu sickness. Furthermore, many families who are extremely religious may believe that using medical practices goes against their religion so it is a risk of violating their religion. In addition to the religious belief for not vaccinating a child is the immense amount of information about the side effects of vaccinations. Going back to the beginning of vaccinology, we know that the first experiment consisted of a country doctor extracting pus from the animal disease on a human and injecting it into a healthy boy.
This knowledge begs the question of : What else are doctors putting in vaccines and injecting in the human body? Many citizens may be worried about the ingredients in the vaccines and could also be rejecting vaccination because of a belief in a government conspiracy. (Hendrix, et al…2016, p.275) There was a huge conspiracy theory linking certain vaccinations to neurological problems in children. In 1986, The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was created by parents who vocalized vaccine safety in children. “In the past decade, parents and their watchdog groups have noticed a rise in autism and linked it to the ingredient thimerosal (previously used in diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, Hib, and hepatitis B vaccines). A series of scientific studies have demonstrated that there is no connection between thimerosal and autism. (Stern & Markel, 2005 p.9) The pros and cons of vaccination are equally important for doctors and scientists to take into consideration.
As we all know, science is continually evolving and there are many new discoveries every day. If something is not working, it is essential to scientists and doctors to know every concern so that they can determine which information will help make vaccinations better for the future. Vaccinations are successful through a trial and error process.
They need to be tested in order to determine if it actually works. The evolution of vaccines is a rocky road, but one cannot deny that it has helped contain the deadly disease epidemic that centuries before us had to endure. In addition to containing the disease in our country, vaccines are also a bridge to peace with other countries.“Vaccines are arguably one of humankind’s greatest creations. Because of vaccines’ remarkable ability to halt great plagues and eliminate disease… vaccines could also be transformed into powerful agents of conflict resolution.” (Vaccinations. 2003, p.79)