Immunizations are one of the most cost-effective means of public health promotion and disease prevention. Immunizations involve prophylactic measure of diseases. Every parent has the right to choose whether or not immunizations are the right choice for their child. Vaccines prevent disease, disability, and death in children and adults. Vaccines have saved millions of lives worldwide and millions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs (IDSA, 2017). The U.S. has made significant progress towards eliminating vaccine preventable diseases among children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published its list of the ten greatest public health achievements at the end of the 20th century and the number one achievement on that list was vaccinations.
One of the strategies used in the U.S. to control vaccine preventable diseases has been state laws making vaccinations mandatory before being able to enroll in school. In 1963, twenty states required immunization against certain diseases for school entrance (Salmon, 2003). State laws provide a safety net ensuring that all, or nearly all, children over 5 years of age are fully vaccinated. Many modern school vaccination laws are the result of measles outbreaks. Therefore, states use the CDC’s schedule of immunizations as a guide and require children to be vaccinated against a number of diseases on the schedule including diphtheria, measles, rubella, and polio (Cole & Swendiman, 2014).
Although vaccines are required for schools, many states provide exemptions as well for medical or religious reasons, According to Cole and Swendiman (2014), all states allow medical exemptions for those whose immune systems are compromised, who are allergic to vaccines, are ill at the time of vaccination, or have other medical contraindications to vaccines.
Health care workers employed in certain health care facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes are required to be vaccinated. In 2009, the New York State Department of Health amended its regulations to require that health care workers at hospitals, in home health care agencies, and in hospice care be immunized against influenza viruses as a precondition to employment and on an annual basis (Cole & Swendiman, 2014)....