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Vaccination of children is standard health practice that is supported by medical and scientific experts and implemented in all developed countries around the world. My personal position states that vaccination should be required as a scientifically-based medical procedure which protects personal and social health. This belief is based upon a combination of examined research, analysis of differing perspectives, and logical reasoning. However, when faced with any controversial issue, it is critical to consider the sources of varying opinions and personal biases which may hinder the examination of the topic.
One of the primary uses of vaccinations for children is prevention of deadly diseases. This method has been proven to be at least 90% effective and adopted as a preventive health care measure by all levels of government. The process of vaccination was and continues to be rigorously tested for its effectiveness. It is logical to adopt a low-risk method that can combat diseases which would be devastating to a child’s health since merely following rules of sanitation is much less efficient. Since the adoption of vaccines, cases of common childhood diseases began to decline rapidly based on official statistics (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.).
Another supporting reason is the presence of herd immunity that is generated by vaccines, protecting current and future generations. In order to protect a population from a disease, a vast majority must be vaccinated. This way, even if a disease appears in a host, it will not be able to spread to a vaccinated person. As the effect is compounded, the disease is eventually practically eradicated due to the inability to spread (University of Oxford, 2016). This is the reason behind government vaccination programs and existence of various measures to encourage participation in vaccination from an early age.
The final argument states that vaccination provides an economic benefit for the society. Over an extended period of time, tremendous savings occur through prevention of lost productivity, death, and health care costs that are prevented by relatively inexpensive vaccines. By reaching the 90% immunization goal of the standard contemporary childhood diseases, the U.S. can receive economic benefits in the approximate range of $5.8 billion (Mirelman, Ozawa, & Grewal, 2014). This argument establishes vaccination as a social benefit that influences a country’s economic well-being. It diverts away from the discussion of scientific validity and provides concrete evidence from a completely differing perspective.
Opposition and Bias
One of the opposing beliefs focused on a significant amount of cases and research noting that vaccination may result in uncontrollable health reactions in children, causing serious harm or death. This was included since most of the people opposing this issue point to the scientific basis of the fact as an attempt to rationalize and justify their opinion. However, there is often an exaggeration or purposeful manipulation of information for such purposes.
Since most peer-reviewed publications acknowledge that the risk does exist in the exponentially small amount of cases, it is beneficial for the opposition to highlight the unpredictability of vaccines. Furthermore, a belief that Constitutional religious rights are violated through enforcement of vaccination was included to highlight the fanaticism that is associated with the anti-vaccine movement.
Parents often attempt to use religious beliefs and abused the religious exemption clause in the law as a way to satisfy their opinion, despite not being devout or the official religious stance supporting vaccination. Finally, the belief that government is violating personal freedoms through laws as a precedent for abuse of power was included since it is the primary political argument behind any controversial issue where federal policy is involved. This argument inherently deviates from the critical issues, as people attempt to use the scandal as a negotiating tactic for political capital (N.L., 2015).
Bias arises in exploring any issue that can have various perspectives and opinions. People tend to use evidence and manipulate the argument in their favor based on subconscious cognitive processes. Neglecting probability may be a relevant bias from my perspective since it focuses on the inability to evaluate risk appropriately. Evidence does support the existence of health risks in vaccination. It is entirely possible that by focusing on the small number percentage of the risks, some factors may be overlooked.
Another possible bias is the collective thinking effect which emphasizes that opinions are adopted due to a popularity of certain mentalities. Vaccination is a widely accepted practice while being in opposition labels one as a fanatic. This leads to my personal group identification that emphasizes that a scientifically proven fact that is common knowledge should not be challenged. I was raised to behave in a way that is socially appropriate and have proficient knowledge of a subject before I take a position that may be massively unacceptable. This may influence my discussion of the topic as I cannot confidently identify with the opposing viewpoint since I have never been in a minority position on any issue.
My opinion is unlikely to change with the exploration of the vaccinating children discussion. However, I have grown to be more understanding of the opposing viewpoints and their perspectives. After research, I am able to see the basis of all the arguments and actions that occur around the issue. Overall, the supporting arguments for vaccination are stronger and more logical than the ones provided by the opposition which tends to focus on external political conflicts. Formulating both sides of the debate and recognizing personal biases helps to approach research on the controversial topic clearly.
N.L. (2015). What experts say, and what people hear. Web.
Mirelman, A., Ozawa, S., & Grewal, S. (2014). The economic and social benefits of childhood vaccinations in BRICS. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 92, 454-456. Web.
University of Oxford. (2016). Herd immunity. Web.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.) Vaccines are effective. Web.