In order to determine whether vaccines should be mandatory or not; it is important to distinguish who is being vaccinated; and how and what type(s) of vaccinations are a threat to an individual and/or society. Also, I think it is important to protect Doctors and hospitals from liability who administer vaccines.
The State’s government, for the common good, should have the authority to force a minor to be vaccinated. Once a person is an adult (above 18) it is their individual decision whether to be vaccinated or not. However, individuals should be forced to be vaccinated for contagious diseases that are also a high risk to society. A child should be vaccinated as long as the vaccination is not a risk (probability wise) to a child’s wellbeing, and is outweighed by the benefit a child receives from being vaccinated. Vaccines should only be mandatory to adults only if the disease that a vaccine is being treated against is contagious to others. Vaccines that are contagious should be mandatory to adults if it satisfies a balancing test. This test balances the risk of receiving a vaccine against the risk society faces of an individual not receiving such a vaccine.
Until a child is 18, their parent(s) decide and thus handle their vaccination. The Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) contends that vaccines prevent infants, children, and teens from 16 potentially harmful diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases may require hospitalization, or even be deadly. Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to help it safely develop immunity to disease.
The most common side effects of vaccines are mild. Serious side effects are very rare. Vaccinations are a short process, taking about 20 minutes. Unvaccinated children are roughly 23 times more likely to develop whooping cough, nine times more likely to be infected with chicken pox, and 6.5 times more likely to be hospitalized with pneumonia or pneumococcal disease. Vaccines are evaluated by a system operating independently from the pharmaceutical companies that make vaccines. Although the vaccine market is at $24 billion, it is only a mere 2-3 percent of a trillion-dollar worldwide pharmaceutical industry. No US federal laws mandate vaccination, but all 50 states require certain vaccinations for children entering public schools. Most states offer medical and religious exemptions; and some states allow philosophical exemptions.
In 1986 the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was passed in response to lawsuits filed claiming vaccines were causing adverse reactions. The Act shielded medical professionals and vaccine manufacturers from liability if an individual suffered injury from receiving vaccines. The Act mandated that vaccine injury claims be filed with the US Court of Federal Claims rather than filed directly against physicians or vaccine manufacturers in civil court. Unlike civil court, people filing injury claims are not required to prove negligence or failure to warn; they only need to prove that a vaccine caused injury. Subsequently, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program (VICP) was created to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs, and establish and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals found to be injured by certain vaccines. Also, in 1990 the CDC and FDA created the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which collects information about adverse events via reports filed by anyone. 85-90% of these reports are for “mild adverse events such as fever, local reactions such as redness at injection site, and episodes of crying or mild irritability. The other 10-15% of reports is for serious adverse events involving life-threatening conditions, hospitalization, permanent disability, or death, which may or may not have been caused by a vaccine.” Then in 1993, the US Congress passed the Comprehensive Childhood Immunization Act of 1993 that created the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program to provide vaccinations free of charge to children in need.
Consequences for children who do not get vaccinated can be suspended from school or barred from attending class. Also, many pediatricians will not care for children who have not been vaccinated. Some people contend that parents should be held liable for their unvaccinated children, especially if their children infect and harm other children. Vaccinations are an important part of keeping society clean from life-threatening diseases. Independent programs should continue to research the costs and benefits of such vaccinations on children and adults. Education should be dispersed to the public, so that adults can make correct decisions of whether to be vaccinated or not. The Government needs to be extremely careful and precise if they are to continue to pressure minors to be vaccinated. Research, and such disbursement thereof, needs to continue.
- CDC’s Public Health Law Program (PHLP) has compiled state statutes and regulations regarding school vaccinations. For more information, please visit the State School and Childcare Vaccination Laws.
- The Vaccine Act of 1813 was an Act of the Twelfth Congress of the United States to encourage vaccination against smallpox. It was passed 27 February 1813 and repealed 4 May 1822. The Act was the first federal law concerning consumer protection and pharmaceuticals.-Wiki
- While several dangerous and potentially deadly diseases are no longer common in the U.S. due to decades of public-health immunization efforts, they persist around the world where vaccinations are not readily available. It’s important that we continue to protect our children with vaccines because outbreaks of harmful – but preventable — diseases can and do occasionally occur right here at home. That’s why California State PTA supported 2015’s Senate Bill 277 to help protect vulnerable children and youth.-California State PTA