Ahuman and childhood vaccine is any substance that is administered tohumans so as to stimulate the body to produce immunity against adisease or a number of infections. Vaccines are considered safe andgood because they prevent the occurrence of the disease in thefuture, and they do not cause the disease. However, there areconcerns over the safety of the vaccines, especially in regard tocausing the disease or side effects. Therefore, childhood vaccinesare considered safe by some people while others reject them asunsafe. This paper will explore the benefits and problems associatedwith childhood vaccines with a view of asserting their safety. Thediscussion will illustrate that childhood vaccines help people andare useful that they are considered as hurt.
Vaccinationhas successfully provided kept the America population healthy andfree from potentially deadly diseases. According to the Centers forDisease Control (CDC), around 732,000 American children have beensaved for the period between 1994 and 2014 through the use ofchildhood vaccines (CDC 1). CDC (1) further reports that over 322million cases of childhood diseases were prevented in America throughthe use of vaccines in the same period under study. Therefore,vaccines are considered to be successful in the prevention of thetargeted diseases in the society (Largent 19). The success ofchildhood vaccination provides the track record of the use of thepreventive method as ate core of the preventive health services.
Childhoodvaccines are safe in the prevention of the diseases. According toMcCormick (21), the majority ofthe vaccines are effective in the prevention of the diseases thatthey are made to protect people from. They are therefore recommendedto be administered to children so as to keep children from theinfectious diseases. According to theCDC (1), childhood vaccines arenecessary because they promote a healthy public by preventing casesof diseases considered infectious but preventable. Despite theconcerns that they are not as effective as they should be, vaccineshave successfully kept some diseases at bay from humanity (Largent23). For instance, vaccines have kept diseases like small pox andpolio out of America. They keep children from getting the seriousdiseases that threaten life because of their fatality potential.
Theway vaccines are prepared and used for the prevention of diseasesmakes them safe for use to keep diseases at bay. They are developedwith the intention of inducing the body to create its own immunityagainst the diseases. According to Largent (27), vaccines areprepared from the causative agents of the disease, the substitute ofthe agent, products of the causative agent, or a syntheticalternative. The vaccines are prepared to act as antigens, withoutcausing the disease. The fact that they are not intended to cause thediseases means that they are safe and effective in their biologicalor chemical makeup (Offitand Moser8). Childhood vaccines arehelpful and not a hurt because they are safe in terms of theircomposition and do not cause the disease.
Researchesby medical organizations and major health and safety institutionshave proved that childhood vaccines are safe. According to the CDC(1), childhood vaccines are safe in the way they are prepared and inthe method of administration. At the same time the institute ofmedicine (IOM) and the American Medical Association (AMA) alsoapprove the use of childhood vaccines (AMA1). According to the USDepartment of Health and Human Services (HHS1), childhood vaccines are themost proven safe methods of preventive health care as they havesucceeded in the prevention diseases in the country. US Department ofHealth and Human Services (1) terms childhood vaccines as recommendedsolution to the prevention of infectious diseases. The approval bythese organizations shows that the use of the vaccines in thepreventive health of children and adults alike.
Vaccinesare safe and helpful because they help the society to stay healthy bypreventing diseases that would wipe out the community in deadlyepidemics. Childhood vaccines prevent the outbreak of most of thecontagious diseases and have been able to successfully keep societieshealthy (Largent 31). The vaccination helps people to avoid thecontagious diseases when they are exposed to the contaminants (AMA1). For instance, if a person isvaccinated against polio, he cannot contract the disease even if heis exposed to the infected people. This is important for thecommunity where people are interacting with foreigners, who may nothave been vaccinated for the contagious diseases in their countries(HHS 1),If infected people interact with members of a vaccinated society, thecommunity is kept healthy and safe from the contagious diseases.
Vaccinessave a lot of time and money in terms of the cost of health care andthe time taken to heal diseases. Vaccines are affordable to thehealth care because they prevent the use of the expensive costs oftreating the diseases when they infect members of the society (CDC1). Vaccination costs less to a country than the cost of treating thediseases, especially when the diseases arise due to an epidemic. Onthe side of the parents, vaccination is affordable and in most cases,it is cost-free because it is provided for by the government (AMA1). However, the immunizationsaves the parent a lot of resources that would rather be used totreat the diseases in case they arose in the future of the child.Moreover, vaccines prevent the loss of life that is caused by theepidemics of the contagious and fatal diseases.
Thecritics to vaccines cite safety concerns of the vaccines by citingthe ingredients used in the vaccines as the reason for harm. Theargument is that vaccines contain ingredients that are consideredharmful by some physicians and people in the society (McCormick53). The critics believe thatsome ingredients that are contained in some of the vaccines causesome diseases or health conditions (Kelly 1). For instance, somephysicians claim that some cases of autism are associated with tracesof organic mercury that is found in the vaccines of flu for children(Offitand Moser76). Another example is the claimthat aluminum contained in traces form in some vaccines can causeneurological harm to human beings. These concerns are, however,clarified by the facts discussed in the next section of the paper.
Inaddition, critics argue that vaccines contain agents of the diseasecausing organisms that can lead to the disease. They claim that it isnot safe to use the agents of the pathogens that cause the diseaseand injection to human body is uncalled for (Offitand Moser28). At the same time, criticsargue that there is a small percentage of the population that is notfavored by the use of vaccines. For instance, if a vaccine is 95%effective, it means that there is a minority population of 5% that isnot safe due to the ineffectiveness of the vaccine. They argue thatthe small percentage can lead to death of people if the vaccines arenot effective.
Moreover,critics argue that vaccines have side effects that lead to thedevelopment of complications to the recipients. Some people arguethat the side effects of certain vaccines carry with them sideeffects that can be life threatening for some people (Largent 150).While the CDC has never rejected the claim, the possibility of theside effects leading to fatality or seriousness is not determined.
Clarificationover the Arguments Above
Theingredients used in the vaccines are safe in the way they areadministered and in the amounts they are used. The ingredients usedin making the making of the vaccines are not harmful because they areused in little and optimum amounts that are not proven to hurt humanbeings. For instance, the use of Thimerosal, Aluminum andFormaldehyde in the preparation of vaccines cannot be harmful if theyare used in optimal quantities that are currently used (Kelly 1).While some of the ingredients are used in the manufacture of thevaccines, they are also used in the production of other products forhuman consumption. Therefore, these ingredients are not new or onlycontained in the vaccines, they are used in other human products.
Agood example of the safety of the ingredients when used in littlequantities is the case of aluminum. Aluminum is part of some of thevaccines given to children, but is also is used in the making ofinfant formula and breast milk, which are consumed by children.According to Kelly (1), a lot of these ingredients such as aluminumare consumed more in the infant formula that it is in the vaccines.Therefore, if they are not harmful in the products for humanconsumption, the ingredients cannot be harmful in the vaccines (Kelly1). In addition, human beings are exposed to more of the ingredientsof the childhood vaccines in other aspects of life than only throughchildhood vaccination. Therefore, the exposure to the ingredientswhile preventing greater risks of the diseases is much morebeneficial.
Theargument that vaccines expose people to the disease causing agents isnot rational because of the nature of the agents used. Vaccinescontain the un-harmful elements of agents that include dead viruses,bacteria, toxins or substances that may be considered harmful (Kelly1). However, these agents do not cause problems or cases of diseasesthat cause the targeted diseases. On the other hand, human beings areexposed to more of the real disease-causing organisms in the reallife. Children are exposed to these pathogens on their daily life,more than they are exposed to the agents of the diseases in thechildhood vaccines (Kelly 1). Therefore, the argument about theagents is not a cause of alarm to assert that the vaccines areharmful.
Theargument by critics that vaccines have severe side effects is not atruth that should make them harmful for human consumption. Theadverse effects of childhood vaccines are rare and the side effectsare not as common as the critics point out. The cases of severereactions by the people who take vaccines appear in low percentages,like in one per hundred thousand people or one per a millionimmunizations (Largent 159). While there are cases of allergicreactions to the childhood vaccines, the percentage of case reportedand the probability of the effects happening is almost negligible.Therefore, the very few cases of side effects should not be a causefor alarm that leads to the avoidance of the use of vaccines.
Thefact that there are few or no cases of contagious and infectiousdisease in America today does not mean that the diseases are not athreat. The success in public health as a result of preventiveprograms is largely associated with the use of vaccines (Largent189). The effectiveness of the vaccines has led to the eliminationand reduction of the cases of some diseases in America and otherparts of the world. The fact that vaccination has helped the countryand the world to eliminate diseases shows the effectiveness andefficiency of the preventive method.
Childhoodvaccination is important as a means of preventive health care becauseit eliminates the occurrence of the targeted infectious diseases.Childhood vaccines prevent such diseases by inducing the body togenerate its own immunity against the disease causing organisms.However, there is concern over the safety of the vaccines because ofthe composition, administration and the effects of the vaccines.While the concerns are valid, vaccines are proven to be the only safeand effective method of preventing the outbreak of infectious,contagious and fatal diseases. The use of childhood vaccines hasinsignificant side effects, contain harmlessingredients and harmlessagents. Moreover, childhood vaccines promote public health by keepingchildren healthy and prevent the entry of such diseases from othersocieties. Therefore, childhood vaccines are safe for human beingsand should continue being used for preventive health care.
CDC,2014. Reportshows 20-year US immunization program spares millions of childrenfrom diseases.Web, Accessed April 20, 2015<http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0424-immunization-program.html>
Kelley,Heyworth, "Vaccines:The Reality behind the Debate.Web, Accessed April 20, 2015,http://www.parents.com/health/vaccines/controversy/vaccines-the-reality-behind-the-debate
Largent,Mark. Vaccine:The Debate in Modern America.Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012, Print
McCormick,Marie., Gable, Alicia., and Stratton, Kathleen. ImmunizationSafety Review:: Thimerosal – Containing Vaccines andNeurodevelopmental Disorders.Washington,D.C: NationalAcademies Press, 2001, Print
TheAmerican Medical Association, AMA. "AMAEncourages Community-Clinical Partnerships to Increase Use ofPreventative Health Services among Boomers. AccessedApril 20, 2015,<http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/news/news/ama-encourages-preventive-services.page>
USDepartment of Health and Human Services, HHS. "Safety,"AccessedApril 20, 2015 <http://www.hhs.gov/safety/>
Offit,Paul and Moser,Charlotte.Vaccines & Your Child: Separating Fact from Fiction. NewYork: Columbia University Press, 2011, Print