The process of inoculation was primarily used by the Chinese in the 10th century and the earliest documented mentions of vaccinations are obtained from China and India. Powdered scabs were initially used for protection against small pox. The procedure was first established by Edward Jenner, who introduced materials from cowpox vesicles into the arm of a boy, who later on after being inoculated with smallpox did not develop the disease (Plotkin, 2014). Vaccination campaigns are found all around the globe, and are also prescribed by several regulations and laws. This promoted the use of vaccines against a range of diseases such as, rabies and anthrax. Successful vaccines were also developed by Maurice Hilleman for treating mumps, measles. Hepatitis A and B, pneumonia, chickenpox and influenza. With the aim of eliminating risks of outbreaks, several governments gave adopted policies that makes vaccination mandatory for all people (Pace, 2015). A law enforced in 1853 promoted universal vaccination against smallpox in Wales and England, and imposed fines on people who failed to adhere to the policy (Murdoch, 2015). Contemporary vaccine policies formulated in the US also state that children should receive the set of recommended vaccinations, before they enter public schools. However, countries with restricted financial resources have limitations in their vaccination coverage and lead to greater mortality and morbidity, due to the spread of communicable diseases (Hajj Hussein et al., 2015). In addition, a range of vaccine controversies have existed prior to the introduction of the terms vaccine and vaccination. Despite their efficacy in preventing spread of infectious diseases, there are several uncorroborated panics regarding their safety.
Vaccination has been described as one of the major achievements of public health, during the 20th century by medical and health scholars. Yet, there are several opposition to vaccination that began with the criticism that the practice of variolation faced during the early years. Vaccinations protect children from a range of complications and vaccination-preventable illness (Hajj Hussein et al., 2015). Other views that made parents and key stakeholders propose the practice of vaccination focus on the fact that all vaccines are made to undergo careful and long review by the doctors, federal government and scientists, to ensure their safety (Loucq, 2013). One major controversy is associated with the fact whether mandatory policies on vaccination are responsible for violating the religious principles or civil liberties. Initial opposing views were based on religious arguments against vaccination that made the theologists state that diseases were sent to punish sins and any attempts to prevent those diseases would be a form of diabolical operation. Unless some form of environmental reservoir exists, no eradicated pathogens generally get reintroduced (Bean & Catania, 2013).
Another contradiction arose when cases of vaccination appeared among people who had been immunised for smallpox. These views contradicted Jenner’s statement on complete protection offered by vaccinations (Shumate, 2014). Some people also hold the view that reduction in spread of infectious diseases are a result of improved hygiene and sanitation, and these diseases were already declining, before specific vaccines were used. Efficacious vaccines have been found to protect people, when administered before the exposure, thus illustrating its advantage. However, opposing views are related to the association between vaccines and autism. Anti-vaccination controversies also arose in the 1970s over the safety of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. Mistrust in vaccination also makes several parents oppose the procedure, due to their distrust in the government, the industry and scepticism in science (MacDonald & Finlay, 2013).
This can be associated with the drop in rates of influenza vaccination in the 2015-2016 flu season, when approximately 42% of adults in the US were vaccinated, a drop by 2% from previous season (Skowronski et al., 2016). These opposing views give rise to the concept of vaccine hesistancy that refers to an active desire of people to omit or defer all vaccines that have been routinely recommended by the government. The bandwagon effect also creates an impact on vaccine hesitancy when the society begins to get adopted to the view of vaccine hesitant people, and increase the probability of additional people embracing vaccine diffident viewpoints.
Strength and weakness of the views
The major strength of the view that promotes vaccination encompasses the fact that immunization saves life of children and have facilitated the extinction of several life-threatening diseases. Other strengths can be related to the fact that vaccines are administered, only after receiving approval and are cost-effective. Furthermore, the fact that immunisation can save large families and are also a good form of investment that is generally covered by insurance are some of the factors that are the assets of the supporting views. In addition, other fortes are linked with herd immunity and protection of future generations. However, some of its weaknesses are related to disappearance of diseases that the vaccines target and the fact that vaccines are based on artificial immunisation procedures that are less effective than natural immunity (Dube, Vivion & MacDonald, 2015). The opposing views also hold true in that all vaccines have been found to carry risks of life-threatening anaphylaxis in 1 per million children. This is a major strength since rotavirus vaccines have caused intussusception that requires hospitalisation of 1 in 20,000 babies in the US (Desai et al., 2013).
Presence of harmful ingredients in vaccines such as, thimerosal, a mercuric compound in flu vaccine has been linked to autism, thereby establishing the strengths of the opposing view (Venkatraman, Garg & Kumar, 2015). In addition, the conflicting outlooks were also supported by the fact the governments should not interfere in the medical choices of children. It should be left to parents and caregivers. The differing views also take into consideration that concept of vaccine overload that elaborates on the fact that administering multiple vaccines at once to a child might overpower or weaken the developing immune system and result in adverse health effects (Hulsey & Bland, 2015). Despite presence of scientific evidences that are successful in strongly challenging these ideas, quite a few parents hold the belief that vaccine overload is responsible for development of autism in children. However, some weaknesses of the opposing view were related to the fact that the FDA and CDC have determined the worth of most vaccines, and adverse reactions to vaccines are rare, 1 per million vaccinations.
Strength of view that is agreed upon
The view that proposes the use of vaccines are chosen because the major role of vaccines are related to protecting the lives of children and the ingredients used are considered safe in limited doses. Owing to the fact that supporters illustrate the role of vaccination for bringing about dramatic reductions in illness and death from communicable diseases and upkeep its importance as a vital measure for averting disease resurgence (Zipursky et al., 2014). Most supposed adverse reactions due to vaccinations are generally unproven. Although such vaccinations might have occurred during the time of vaccination, this might have been purely coincidental (Browne et al., 2015). This forms the basis of rejecting claims that link vaccination to different diseases such as, autism. Additionally, vaccination of the entire population has the spin-off value of herd immunity.
Presence of a large proportion of individuals who are immune creates difficulties for viruses to spread, due to the dearth of susceptible targets. Some other factors that lead to the selection of the supporting views are related to the fact that diseases create huge financial burden on the families and the society as well (Larson et al., 2014). The direct and indirect costs of diseases can exceed an estimated $10 billion per year. The high expenses of the vaccine preventable diseases make it imperative to promote vaccination. In addition, vaccines given in schools, in accordance with routine programs also help in providing life-long protection to the children from contagious diseases.
Thus, it can be concluded that vaccines are one of the safest immunisation products that are freely available and cost less time and money in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, thereby reducing medical costs and potential long term disability. Moreover, vaccinating mothers can also help in protecting their unborn children from several infectious diseases, which have the potential of preventing the occurrence of birth defects among the children. The concepts of vaccine overload or anti-vaccination movements raise a number of ethical difficulties, at instances when the number of unvaccinated individuals threaten harm to a larger population. Hence, the views that support the administration of vaccines are carefully chosen, taking into consideration the several health benefits that immunisation or vaccination programs offer.
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