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The Importance Of Childhood Immunizations Essay

2121 words - 9 pages

Parents are asking a question when they take their offspring to their pediatrician. Do we have to vaccinate our children? Many parents question the importance or even the need for their children to receive vaccinations. The reasons for their objections or doubts vary from religious beliefs, a lack of understanding exactly what immunizations really are, or fear that their children may acquire a serious reaction to the vaccines themselves. Immunizations are safe and effective, yet many still question their importance and place in society.The purpose behind vaccinations is to create an environment where children are safe and free from disease. According to the Centers For Disease Control and ...view middle of the document...

" An innocent swim at the local pool might have caused a child to spend his life in a wheelchair or in leg braces. Just to put it into perspective, consider this…according to the CDC (2007), "before polio immunizations began in 1955, polio reached a peak in the United States in 1952, with more than 21,000 paralytic cases. However, following introduction of effective vaccines, polio incidence declined rapidly. The last case of wild-virus polio acquired in the United States was in 1979." Today, there are no cases of polio to report in the United States. Consequently, problems linked with the vaccine go beyond the dangers of the disease itself. By virtue of its absence, the disease is no longer a reminder of the importance of immunizations.Getting all children vaccinated is not only important for are own child, but also important for other children as well. Maintaining civic assurance in vaccinations is vital for avoiding a drop in immunization rates. New outbreaks of disease will result from non-compliance and indifference. While a large part of parents consider the benefits of vaccinations and have their children immunized, there are still parents who worry and fear about the safety of immunizations. According to the CDC (2007), "In the 1980's, there were public concerns about the safety of whole-cell pertussis vaccine. This resulted in decreased vaccine coverage levels and the return of epidemic disease in Japan, Sweden, United Kingdom, and several other countries."Try to imagine seeing one of our children contract a disease that could have been prevented by a vaccination. For example, mumps is an acute viral illness that travels from person to person by respiratory droplets. Side effects of this disease can range from headaches and swelling of glands in the neck region to having a fever, vomiting, and possible breathing problems, arthritis, arthralgia, and nephritis. None of our children ought to suffer, especially from an immunization preventable disease that could have been stopped with the appropriate immunization. The scenario below illustrates a particular mother's refusal to get her child vaccinated.Some of my young patients have parents who, despite being well educated have, in my opinion, some irrational beliefs. An example of this is a young mother who recently refused to vaccinate her baby. This mother said that she had heard of adverse reactions to vaccines and she did not want to risk her baby's health. She had heard that some vaccines have dangerous additives, that the measles vaccine is associated with autism and that the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine could cause her child to have chickenpox in adulthood when it would be more dangerous. Vaccines, she had read, weaken the immune system.I tried to explain that many of her concerns have been addressed but she would have none of it. "Doctors are uninformed about the risks of vaccines," she said. "Vaccines actually cause diseases instead of preventing them." This seemed like too...

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