Grace Harris- Final Research Narrative
Vaccinations- Prevention or a Cause of Disease?
A crucial aspect in improving children’s health is prevention of deadly diseases. Vaccinations are a powerful preventative medicine that has protected society against diseases such as meningitis, polo, whooping cough, mumps, and most strains of hepatitis. In recent years there has been suspicion that vaccinations can cause serious neurodevelopment disorders. This “misinformation” according to Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention is what interested me to begin researching vaccinations. Although there has been a large amount of information against the research linking vaccinations to autism, SIDS and other disorders, a stigma still remains.
In beginning the research process I discovered repeatedly the declining numbers of vaccinations rates in America. I was surprised by this information because with the increase in technology and scientific endeavors one would think that vaccines would be more readily available and therefore there would be an increase in vaccinations. Anne Schuchat the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases states, “The low vaccination rates are a disappointment. We know that we have a long way to go to really take advantage of the protection these vaccines can afford.” She blames these declining numbers on lack of insurance coverage, our culture not taking advantage of preventative medicine, and distrust from parents because of alleged side effects of vaccinations. Due to these declining numbers and the lack of vaccinations potentially causing harm to our society, this shows that the lack of vaccinations is a serious problem.
In acknowledging this information I was curious in understanding why it is important and mandatory for all children to be vaccinated. This led to me a website Kids Health which is an organization that is dedicated to children’s developmental health. This website is designed for parents to learn more about their children’s health and what options are available for them. They also have sections of the website which are interactive for teens and children that educate them on how to stay healthy. Kids Health gives many reasons of why children should be vaccinated regularly such as sustaining both individual and societal health. I found the most helpful section of this website to be the “Fears and Myths” section which discusses information to parents in a question and answer format stating reasons of why vaccinations are safe and will not harm their children. In using the resources section in this site I found the website for, Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition so I could see where Colorado stood in terms of vaccinations. Although Colorado is ahead of the national average for vaccination rate lower income families are still in need. This organization provides information of how lower income families can obtain vaccinations and reasoning of why it is so important to get vaccinated. It states vaccinations are important because the diseases they prevent have not been eradicated they are just sustained and in order to keep them sustained each generation must get adequate vaccinations.
The next step of my research progress was gaining more information on these risks and side effects that have stigmatized vaccinations and why some parents are passionate about not getting their children immunized. When researching this topic I found the article, “More Evidence Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism” which discusses research which has found vaccinations to be linked to autism. The chemical thimersol which serves as a preservative in vaccinations such as the dTap and MMR is allegedly at fault for causing this disorder. The article goes into detail stating how most researchers have retracted their statements linking the two and that thimersol has been used in vaccines since 1930’s. Also a preservative free vaccine is on the market if parents want to be cautious about the chemical. I was questioning if this is true then why are parents still reluctant to vaccinate their children. I then found an article from the American Chronicle which is confident in the link between vaccinations and diseases such as autism, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and Attention Deficit Disorder, and multiple chemical sensitivity. They claim that neurodevelopment disorders began to grow around the 1970’s which correlates to the rise in vaccinations given to children, especially infants. It was also found that researchers who have concluded a link were paid or employed by the government to retract their statements and finding information which does not conflict with their views. In order to write an effective argument I must understand the opposition and acknowledge information from their sources to be seen as credible.
Another area of subject I was interested in researching was if there was any exception to mandatory vaccinations. I came across the article, “Parents Claim Religion to Avoid Vaccines for Kids” which states this is a new trend and there are consequences for this. The exemption exists because of certain religions that prohibit vaccinations such as Scientologists and some fundamentalists groups. It was reported that in New York an assembly of parents banded together to protest against mandatory vaccinations and all claimed religious exemption. Soon after they experienced an outbreak of measles since the children were susceptible to the virus. Parents who decided to claim this are risking infection, outbreaks, and the spreading of diseases. Some states only allow the religious and medical exemptions only; other states can cite personal or philosophical reasons. States which only allow for religious exemptions have seen an increase in exemptions especially for kindergartners.
This lead to further research on what a parent’s power is in the choice of whether to immunize their children. This lead me to a Times article, “How Safe are Vaccines” which states that parents really do not have any power in the decision it is made for them by the government in order to better society. It is estimated that vaccinations saves 33,000 lives, prevents 14 million infections and saves $10 billion in medical costs. Vaccines not only protect the recipients but also those who cannot receive them such a newborns and cancer patients. This benefit to society is the reasoning behind the 1905 Supreme Court case where the right to mandate vaccinations was given to the states. “The decision to vaccinate is a decision for your child,” says Dr. Jane Seward, “but also a decision for society.” The article predicts that in the future a resolution between public policy and personal choice will be made with science and genetic testing, but when this resolution will come to realization is uncertain.
In understanding these various aspects of vaccinations I can now create an effective argument which utilizes different sources and appeals to the general public. In order to create change and a resolution to better children’s health I must create a cohesive argument of all these issues. Parents need to be educated on the risks and benefits of vaccinations to make a decision to better their children’s health as well as society’s.
Grace Harris- DRAFT
During the research process I have discovered repeatedly the declining numbers of American’s who do not get vaccinated. I was surprised by this information because with the increase in technology and scientific endeavors one would think that vaccines would be more readily available and therefore there would be an increase in vaccinations. Anne Schuchat the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases states, “The low vaccination rates are a disappointment. We know that we have a long way to go to really take advantage of the protection these vaccines can afford.” She blames these declining numbers on lack of insurance coverage and our culture not taking advantage of preventative medicine. Due to these declining numbers and the lack of vaccinations potentially causing harm to our society this gives my argument exigence and makes it relevant to the public audience. Without exigence my argument wouldn’t be as effective and may not appeal to the audience. In using this information as an introduction it will give my argument relevancy and the audience will have a purpose in reading and ultimately causing change. I will organize my paper according to theme in order for it to be organized and easily understood.
Get Children Vaccinated
– Information on why it is important to get children vaccinated
– Kids Health website and Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition
Fears and Myths
– Focus on alleged links of vaccine and disease side effects
– Major section on thimersol and autism
– What vaccines are made of
– Will immune systems weaken due to vaccinations
Vaccination and Religion
– Which religions ban vaccinations
– Why using this option is hurting society
Personal Choice and Public Policy
– My child, my choice
– Government using regulatory vaccinations as means of public health
– Can a resolution be made?