Vaccinations, Worth A Shot!

Mandated Vaccinations are a huge argument right now because
of health and disease issues.
There are people on both sides of this argument. Some people are against
vaccinating their children because they feel they are being forced to have
their child get vaccinated. While some people feel the need that vaccinations
are important to protect themselves from any illness or diseases. Vaccinations
should be mandatory for all schools and health care purposes.

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For one, people who are vaccinated can protect the other
people who cannot be vaccinated for certain reasons or problems. “Annual influenza vaccination for healthcare workers has
the potential to benefit healthcare professionals, their patients, and their
families by reducing the transmission of influenza” (Anikeeva, 2009). It is a
great idea to be vaccinated because it reduces the chance of getting a disease
and gives the body medicine to prevent getting a disease. It is a great way to
keep the body protected, physical or intimate contact spreads the most
diseases. Most diseases can be easily spread but prevented by a vaccination.

Secondly, influenza vaccinations of healthcare workers are
equally important because it reduces employees from having an illness and being
absent from work. “In October 2009, public health
authorities ranked health care personnel as one of the highest priority groups
to receive the vaccine” (Hellyer, 2011). Influenza vaccinations are very
effective and can prevent many illnesses, deaths, and losses in productivity. Also,
vaccinating employees and in turn reducing absenteeism can save employers money
in an influenza vaccination program.  “Influenza
vaccination programs for healthcare workers are cost effective in both direct
and indirect costs of staff absenteeism” (Anikeeva, 2009). Annual influenza
vaccines for healthcare workers also help their patients and families by
reducing the transmission of influenza. 
The vaccine amongst healthcare workers helps patients by decreasing the
chance of them being infected.  Vaccinating
healthcare workers can help reduce mortality.  Influenza is an important cause of mortality
and morbidity.  Mortality deals with the
fact of death, but morbidity deals with the condition of being diseased. Most
importantly, there are only very few risks associated with the vaccine.  The most frequent side effects reported as
mild pain or swelling in the injection site.  

Moreover, healthcare association influenza occurs in both
acute and long term health care facilities.  This affects both patients and staff and
affects the delivery of care and is especially
important in wards and institutions caring for young children or elderly
people.  It was also shown that is cost
effective to have health care workers vaccinated. This was shown by an economic
evaluation. Public health authorities have strongly recommended that health
care workers in the health care environment receive influenza vaccines. This
protects both patients and workers in healthcare settings.  Despite the health authority’s
recommendations for vaccines, the rates for immunizations world-wide are disappointingly
low.  These rates show that health care
workers are at an increased risk for health associated influenza.  This poses a serious health threat during
influenza outbreaks. The rates of immunization can be increased by offering
free immunizations, and providing on site vaccines for staff.  The Infectious Disease Society of America
suggests that voluntary immunizations are not effective and therefore mandatory
programs are needed.  Some countries
already have mandatory programs in effect. Currently at least four US states
have mandatory programs in effect for nursing homes and hospitals.  There are certain exemptions such as medical
and religious reasons. 

Another important issue is childhood immunizations; these
are required at most state schools.  Children’s vaccines like the other
immunizations provide benefits for both the individual and the rest of the
population. Immunizations can save children’s lives. There are many advantages
in medical science which means children can be protected against diseases. The
whooping cough is one of the vaccines for children; this causes violent
coughing or a whoop in inhaling which leads to symptoms of vomiting and
difficulty breathing. To date this year, more than 19,000 cases of whooping
cough have been reported to the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention,
this is twice the amount as the year before. Diseases that killed or injured
thousands of people are being eliminated completely due to safe and effective
vaccines.     Currently all 50 states
have some type of mandated vaccines for school aged children.  In most states parents can only opt out due
to medical or religious reasons.  The
government continues to expand the list of mandatory vaccines required such as
Hepatitis B which rarely affects children.

In addition, the law in most states requires that parents
vaccinate their children before entering kindergarten no matter what the
situation was. However, a student may get out of
a vaccination for religious beliefs. Vaccinations are required for all students
unless it is for a medical reason. A medical reason for example, would be considered
someone with cancer. Not every vaccination is going to be a hundred percent,
but with all the children being vaccinated, it protects the classroom from any
type of illness. It is good idea for children to be vaccinated for school.  This give a protection to the classroom, even
if it’s not 100% effective, if most children are vaccinated it can prevent an
outbreak in the classroom of something such as measles or chicken pox.  Some parents do feel that certain vaccines
cause autism or other disabilities but medical personnel say no. The American
Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, and The World Health Organization all say there
is no relationship between vaccines and autism. 
Science has not proven there is a link between the two, but with one
person’s story and today’s social media that is all it takes to spread this
word. 

Additionally, immunizations today prevent two to three
million deaths annually.  According the World Health Organization, the
amount of children receiving immunizations have remained steady.  Vaccines now protect people from diseases
that once killed in masses; an example such as Polio which is usually
contracted through feces has been making a return. It is highly infectious and
affects mostly young children; this disease affects the nervous system and
could cause paralysis. Although vaccines have proven to be effective at
reducing deaths from preventable diseases, there are still over 18 million
infants world-wide that have not received vaccines.  Some reasons for not vaccinating lie with the
media and their biased portrayals of the effects of vaccinations. In the United
States many parents claim religious beliefs for reasons not to get their
children vaccinated, when none in fact of most prominent religions practiced in
the world directly prohibit their followers from vaccinating.  It is possible to end all preventable diseases
and save thousands of children, yet some parents and people still refuse to
vaccinate their children, this puts all other children of the world at risk.

Whether people choose to vaccinate themselves or their
children is their decision. However,
their decision affects the people around them. Many people could care less
about being vaccinated because they are not affected by vaccinations and could
care less about the effects of others. Not all places have vaccines being
mandated by law, but it is a firm belief that vaccinations should be mandated.
Many people are dying and affected by the diseases that they cannot defend
themselves against. People should be cautious and think of others when it comes
to vaccinations because it can prevent many people from getting sick or getting
a disease that cannot be helped. Vaccinations are very simple to receive and do
not take long to do so, it should not be controversial considering vaccinations
are easy to receive and administer. Vaccinations keep people safe and healthy,
therefore there should be no option or question whether to be vaccinated or
not.

On the other hand mandatory vaccinations can be seen as
coercive or invasive especially if it is considered part of a condition of
employment. “More nurses may view vaccinations
as a personal health choice rather than an obligatory patient safety measure” (Hellyer,
2011). Some feel vaccinations should not be mandatory for health care workers
because it could raise liability issues. 
For example, a liability issue could be if something went wrong with the
vaccination, they could be sued. There are few downfalls that could come from
mandating, such as legal actions and lawsuits. 
Also people view mandatory vaccines as a violation of rights.  In the United States the influenza immunization
in health care workers has a poor track record, as recent studies show there
are only documented vaccines of 35-40%. 
A few studies site a reduction of influenza infection and mortality
among elderly. Programs that are considered mandatory only allow exemptions for
religious reasons.  Programs that allow
for “personal reasons” are not truly mandatory, these would be
considered voluntary vaccinations. Some of the reasons mandatory vaccinations
should not happen: mandatory penalty of unemployment, employees could feel
alienated; mandating vaccines could cause rise for legal challenges; raise
liabilities, such as side effects; mandated flu vaccines could divert focus by
providing a false sense of security; healthcare workers must sign a form
stating that they declined the shot, like a signed consent saying they
understand the risks of not receiving it. 

In conclusion, health care institutions have many ways to
keep workers vaccinated. Healthcare
facilities offer things such as free vaccines, education about the vaccines,
small incentives, reminders, and actually as a condition of employment. Some
health care workers feel they are healthy and there is no need for the vaccine.
They feel the benefit does not outweigh the possible adverse events after the
immunization, the more knowledge that is shared with health care workers, and
parents would create a bigger buy in for the immunizations.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Anikeeva, Olga, et al.
“Requiring Influenza Vaccination for Health Care Workers.” American

Journal
of Public Health, vol. 99, no. 1, Jan. 2009, pp. 24-29. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2105/AJPH.2008.136440.

 

Hellyer, Joan M.
Henriksen, et al. “Attitudes toward and Uptake of H1N1 Vaccine among
Health

Care
Workers during the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic.” Plos ONE, vol. 6, no. 12, Dec.
2011, pp. 1-7. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029478.

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