Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Vaccines: The new controversy 
(Peters/Perez-Pena) Recently, there has been an outbreak of measles in Disneyland that has spiked up the already controversial talk on vaccines. In recent years, there has started to be push-back from parents in terms of vaccines because of the misconception that vaccines can cause autism. There has also been push-back from Republicans because of their view of modern-science and their hatred of governmental mandates. Due to the fact that many Republican citizens are against vaccines, the issue has become a center one for possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates. This issue is similar to the recent Ebola outbreak where Republicans wanted the banning of entry to the U.S. if someone was in one the infected Western African countries. In both of these instances, science and medicine have disagreed with the vocal Republicans which, in turn, puts Republican representatives in an awkward position. Hilary Clinton has weighed in saying on Twitter "The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccines work." Senator Rand Paul has as well but for the other side, saying "The state doesn't own your children. Parents own the children."

The fact that vaccines are so controversial is really quite ridiculous to me. In my opinion, vaccines should be mandated for certain, easily transferable diseases. The reason for this is because when you choose not to vaccinate your child from a disease like the measles, you aren't just affecting your child, but you are putting everyone who comes into contact with your child at risk. This isn't about personal freedoms in my opinion because not vaccinating yourself or your kid affects those around you, and their health shouldn't be put at risk because you don't believe in science. Speaking of science, the myth that vaccines can give your kid autism has already been clearly disproved so why that's still an issue is unclear to me. Republicans' aversion to modern science, or just science in general, is really disheartening to me because it's creating unnecessary roadblocks for protecting things like the environment, education, and in this case, children's health. 

1) Do you believe the government should be able to mandate vaccinations? Why or why not?
2) Do you believe in vaccines? Why or why not?
3) What future legislation do you think might be passed in terms of vaccination, if any?


Murray Sandmeyer said...

Vital vaccinations in children should definitely be mandated. Although the argument exists that one ought to choose for themselves or their kids what medicine enters their body, the fact of the matter is that shunning vaccinations affects OTHER PEOPLE as well. This was evident in the Disneyland case in which a nearly eradicated disease in the modern world comes roaring back because of the decisions of one or two irresponsible people. To make matters worse, a study published in Pediatrics last month found that vaccine-deniers tend to stick with other like-minded people, which serves to increase the risk of diseases spreading between these people. (http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/01/20/378630798/parents-who-shun-vaccines-tend-to-cluster-boosting-childrens-risk)
We should as a society be making an effort to improve public health, no matter what irresponsible deniers have to say about it.

Angelia Fontanos said...

Even though there are people who are strongly against vaccinations, I believe the government should be able to mandate vaccinations. When a person decides not to get vaccinated, they put others at risk of a disease. Someone's personal decision should not negatively affect other people, so I think that the health and safety of a larger population should override an individual's personal medical choices.
Also, there's a big benefit to being vaccinated called community or herd immunity (more on that here:http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/vaccines/understanding/pages/vaccinebenefits.aspx). Basically, if you get vaccinated you can help prevent a disease from spreading in the first place because your body will have an easier time to stop the virus. So, anti-vaccination people actually have vaccinations to thank that they don't have a disease.

Kelsey O'Donnell said...

I agree with both of you and the point that the government should be able to mandate vaccinations. I also agree with your point that not vaccinating your kids hurts those around you. You made a very good point Murray that the Disneyland outbreak is very frightening because of the way just a few vaccine non-believers brought back an almost totally eradicated disease.

Katie Wysong 6 said...

It is a recent misconception that the anti-vaccine movement is only a Republican issue. A recent Pew study revealed that 22% of Democrats and 34% of Republicans believed that parents should have the right to chose whether or not to vaccinate their children. In 2009, there was almost no difference between parties (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/02/young-adults-more-likely-to-say-vaccinating-kids-should-be-a-parental-choice/). Also, there are some wealthy liberal areas with high levels of not vaccinated children.
Though I believe in vaccines myself, I can see the worry that people have with the government mandating it. In the end though, I think that the state governments have the right and responsibility to require vaccines for students at public schools, as they are putting other children, who may not be able to get vaccines due to medical issues such as cancer, at risk by not being vaccinated when they are healthy enough to be. This could be solved by eliminating the philosophical/religious exemption for the vaccination requirements.

Miranda Brinkley said...

I definitely agree that the government should be allowed to mandate vaccinations, because while I believe that people ought to have the right to choose, as Murray has pointed out this affects the people around you and just for the sake of continuity. I understand and agree with the idea of making exceptions for people with religious protests against vaccinations, but where does the line exist between allowing religious exceptions, philosophical exceptions, etc? In this case, I do think that preserving and protecting national public health as a whole is more important than the personal freedom of deciding whether or not a parent wants a child vaccinated.

Lindsay Block said...

I agree with all of you that vaccines should be mandated, both for the safety they provide for the recipient and for those around them. As many of you said, not getting vaccinated endangers those around you, and could have an adverse effect that could have easily been prevented. While celebrities like Jenny McCarthy perpetuated the rumor of the misleading and false dangers of vaccinations, and while the doctor who first spread this idea has had his license taken away, I am still surprised at how much this notion has been believed and continued.
Like Katie and Miranda, I understand the concern the government has with mandating private citizens to comply, but overall health must be considered as well. The CDC has been working with the Institute of Medicine to test the relationship between autism and a certain vaccine ingredient, and both agree that there is no connection to the cause of autism. Since the recent outbreak, many have become even more scared of the vaccines, but an even larger surge of support has been shown on the side of vaccinations, making me think that scientific proof like stated above will dictate future action.

Lindsay Block said...
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