Vaccinations are key in maintaining public health

By Samantha Moffett, OPINION EDITOR
On January 24, 2018

SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

Since the very first smallpox vaccination in 1796, the idea of vaccinating your children has evolved tremendously. With technological advancements and more research being done, the last few decades have seen vaccinations develop especially rapidly. The World Health Organization reports that vaccinations prevent between two and three million deaths every year. 

Mandating vaccines could be an effective way for the government and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to continue preventing the spread of various diseases.

Some parents struggle with the idea of whether or not to vaccinate their children, taking into account the many concerns surrounding vaccination. Some of the concerns noted on parents.com are that vaccines overwhelm the baby’s immune system, violates human rights and poisons a baby with possible toxins.

Vaccination and immunization requirements are implemented when children are placed into the public-school system, but in some special cases like a compromise of religion, there are ways to get around it. 

However, a bill was introduced into the Florida legislature that could mandate all children entering public school between the ages of 11 and 12 to be vaccinated for the common virus, the human papillomavirus. 

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a cancer-causing virus that is sexually transmitted, according to the CDC. 

Since 2006, at least 42 states and territories have made strides to require the HPV vaccine and to provide and educate the public and school children about the vaccine. The Florida public school systems do not currently require students to get an HPV vaccine.

The vaccine for HPV was first introduced in 2006. A bill proposed in 2011 that would require the Department of Health to add HPV vaccines to the list of recommendations and require public schools to provide the vaccine was denied.

The CDC reports that there are currently 79 million Americans living with HPV and that number grows by 14 million each year. The implementation of this new bill would be a key player in preventing the spread of this potentially deadly disease.

While parents do have a right to question vaccinating their children, studies show overwhelming data that proves vaccines to be extremely beneficial. In past times, vaccinations eradicated smallpox and the Polio virus could be next. With over 80 percent of the world’s children currently being vaccinated against the virus, Unicef reports that the number of cases have been cut from 400,000 to 90,000 between 1980 and 1990.  

The current medical system in place asks physicians to simply accept patients who refuse vaccination, since it is a “matter of personal belief.” However, doctors have a duty to treat the patient as best as they possibly can and most doctors support the notion that vaccination is one of the ways to complete that duty. Mending the gap between doctors and vaccine- hesitant patients is a necessity to fully prevent future diseases from spreading.

The anti-vaccination movement that has grown in the last few decades puts many children who simply do not have a say in what their parents choose for them medically at risk. 

We decide that in most cases parents ultimately know what is best for their children and should use their discretion to make decisions based off of that concept. However, we have also mandated laws requiring parents to buckle their children in safely to a car, provide proper schooling, proper care and a home for their children.

Ultimately, these laws are in place to keep children safe and are in the best interest of parents and their children. The mandatory HPV vaccination bill should be considered equally.

 The spread of HPV could cause cancer in both males and females, long term respiratory problems or even death. The proposed bill is looking to decrease the possibility of any of these occurrences, at least in the public-school system.

At the end of the day, parents still have the right to decide for their children on whether or not to vaccinate and for some children with certain medical issues, vaccination truly may not be the best decision.

However, for the majority, vaccinations help keep children healthy. Public schools do have the right to mandate the HPV vaccine as they have a duty as well to keep their students’ safety as a main priority.

 

Samantha Moffett is a sophomore
majoring in  mass communications.

 

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