Governments implement and pursue evidence-based policies and laws that can protect their citizens and prolong their life expectancies. In many countries, people can choose specific vaccinations available within their public health networks or systems. In others, immunizations against specific diseases and conditions tend to be mandatory. In the United States, there are no federal requirements or laws compelling citizens to receive mandatory vaccines. In many regions, vaccines have continued to eliminate or minimize cases of various communicable diseases. Additionally, immunizations have protected many people against dangerous illnesses for many decades. In the recent past, numerous anti-vaccination campaigns have emerged in different parts of the world. Such developments have continued to spark concern and controversy within the fields of medical safety and public health. This paper gives evidence-based arguments and views to explain why there is a need for mandated vaccination policies in the United States.
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The unique benefits of vaccines are undisputable since they protect individuals and entire populations, thereby reducing the chances of disease outbreaks in the targeted regions or nations. Hendrix, Sturm, Zimet, and Meslin (2016) support this argument by indicating that the scientific practice delivers herd immunity. This means that all beneficiaries will have improved immune systems that can recognize and fight disease-causing pathogens. Many states require that all school-going children receive timely vaccines. The introduction of such policies will also ensure that all healthcare professionals have specific immunizations in an attempt to protect more patients.
This is also appropriate for military personnel to avoid the transmission of various diseases from one place to another. While the benefits of vaccines are documented in many publications and works, some people have offered contradictory opinions. Additionally, many employers require their healthcare workers to have immunizations. For instance, some have outlined their philosophical notions and religious views to challenge the purpose and nature of immunizations. These issues explain why this topic remains controversial in the United States and across the world (Born, Ikura, & Laupacis, 2015). Those who support the importance of mandatory vaccination policies should consider all technical aspects in order to present evidence-based insights that can eventually transform or improve public health.
Timely vaccinations are essential since they protect children and adults from various life-threatening diseases. Although some parents and guardians might be convinced that they have the right to reject such vaccinations, the final outcome is that most of the affected children will be unable to lead healthy lives. Hendrix et al. (2016) indicate that vaccinations reduce children’s risk of new infections or illnesses. This is true since the compounds introduced in their bodies will boost their natural defense mechanisms, thereby developing immunity against the targeted disease. Newborn babies who receive timely immunizations will have immunity against conditions that might threaten their lives. Weithorn and Reiss (2018) go further to indicate that vaccines will not overload a person’s immune system. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that children and infants should receive vaccinations until they attain the age of six years (“Making the vaccine,” n.d.). Such beneficiaries will record positive health outcomes.
Different American states have implemented specific laws that require learning institutions to ensure that enrollees get vaccinated. The same principle is applicable to other settings and populations in this country. Similarly, healthcare facilities in the United States currently compel all workers to get immunizations for certain illnesses in an effort to reduce the cases of preventable diseases (Weithorn & Reiss, 2018). These attributes show that vaccines are essential since many healthcare facilities are sources of different diseases that can result in death (Shefer et al., 2006). Learning institutions and hospitals that consider such requirements record reduced cases of vaccine-preventable conditions.
Another argument to support the introduction of mandated vaccination policies is that most of the initiatives and strides made so far in public health have not addressed the problem infectious diseases pose to human beings today. For instance, communicable diseases continue to threaten the operations and capacities of military groups and other disciplined forces (Weithorn & Reiss, 2018). With this kind of knowledge, the Department of Defense (DoD) provides 17 types of vaccines to soldiers depending on these aspects: the basis of military occupation, mission requirements, and location of the deployment (Born et al., 2015). This strategy is recommendable since military personnel tends to train in crowded environments or settings. This is a clear indication that they are usually at a higher risk of contracting infectious diseases. Vaccinations are also essential since they protect soldiers who might get into contact with pathogens they might have no immunity or expertise to manage. Immunizations will also prepare soldiers and other people against biological agents or weaponized pathogens.
Although many groups, associations, and medical professionals support the unique benefits of immunizations, the issue does not escape from a wide range of legal, ethical, and moral questions in different societies. This assertion explains why there are specific thinkers or individuals who will remain opposed to the idea of having mandatory vaccinations. Hussain, Ali, Ahmed, and Hussain (2018) argue that the decision infringes on autonomy for secular and religious reasons, thereby making it impossible for many people to lead contented lives. Another observation is that current requirements force healthcare professionals to immunize their patients or those at risk of specific conditions without getting their informed consent (Born et al., 2015). This approach is against the principles of non-maleficence and justice that all practitioners must uphold. All medical professionals should never harm members of society (Hussain et al., 2018). Finally, many analysts, researchers, and medical practitioners have argued that vaccines can cause more harm than good to the integrity of a person’s body. This happens to be the case since vaccines are foreign bodies that might have negative effects on a person’s future health experiences or outcomes.
Personal Opinion and Conclusion
The above arguments and counterarguments have revealed that the issue of vaccination will always remain argumentative. This is true since there are some quarters that will always be in favor of the practice while others will be against it. This means that there is a need for all stakeholders and policymakers to balance the risks to the public versus the health gains of one individual or a small number of people. They can also go further to propose superior strategies for meeting all people’s health demands while at the same time supporting the idea of patient autonomy. With such insights, my personal opinion is that the benefits of vaccinations for adults in different working environments and children outweigh the rights that might occur when the US government implements such policies. This understanding explains why it can be appropriate for the country to introduce mandated vaccinations to control diseases that might result in negative public medical gains.
Born, K., Ikura, S., & Laupacis, A. (2015). The evidence, ethics, and politics of mandatory health care worker vaccination. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 20(1), 1-3. Web.
Hendrix, K. S., Sturm, L. A., Zimet, G. D., & Meslin, E. R. (2016). Ethics and childhood vaccination policy in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 106(2), 263-278. Web.
Hussain, A., Ali, S., Ahmed, M., & Hussain, S. (2018). The anti-vaccination movement: A regression in modern medicine. Cureus, 10(7): e2919. Web.
Making the vaccine decision. (n.d.). Web.
Shefer, A., Lindley, M. C., Horlick, G., Clemens, M., Shaw, F., & Strikas, R. (2006). Assessing state immunization requirements for healthcare workers and patients. American Journal of Epidemiology, 163(Suppl. 11), S134-S134. Web.
Weithorn, L. A., & Reiss, D. R. (2018). Legal approaches to promoting parental compliance with childhood immunization recommendations. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 14(7), 1610-1617. Web.