The Discovery Of Vaccines Prevented The Spread Of Infectious Diseases

1584 words - 6 pages

The discovery of vaccines prevented the spread of infectious diseases around the world. Vaccines control the spread of diseases such as measles, tuberculosis, smallpox, and the flu. In addition, vaccines increase the overall health of not only individuals, but of populations. Although these benefits prove effective on the world wide scale, the requirement of vaccinations of children to enter the public school system remains a current public health concern. Some argue that vaccines are dangerous for children and can lead to adverse effects. Others assert that the enforcement of requiring children to be vaccinated before entering schools protects the health of those attending school. These views create a challenge amongst parents who must decide whether or not to vaccinate their children with no regard to the benefits that vaccinations contain. The absence of federal regulation deepens the issue as many assert that states are violating constitutional law.
States require that children be vaccinated before being enrolled in the public school system. The tenth amendment, from the bill of rights, gives states the authority to enforce public health recommendations. It is through this power that states are able to enforce vaccinations, such as vaccinating children in order to be enrolled in public schools. According to Alexandria Stewart, some have opposed this view by claiming that states have no right to enact such policies (Stewart 2008, 801-803). Opponents adhere to the rights granted to them under the first and fourteenth amendment. Stewart points out that the courts have stated that policies taken by states to vaccinate children are not a violation of the first and fourteenth amendments because states reserve the right to protect their population (Stewart 2008, 801-803). Since the 1800s, states have been able to pass a law that requires children to be vaccinated before entering public schools. Massachusetts became the first state in the United States to pass a law to their public schools enforcing children to demonstrate proof of vaccinations. For example, in 1827 the state of Massachusetts passed a law in Boston that required children to demonstrate evidence of vaccinations to teachers (Hinman, Orenstein, Williamson & Darrington 2002, 122-127).It was until 1922 under the Zucht v. King case that the US Supreme Court passed a law that allowed all states the right to enforce mandatory vaccinations in public schools. Since, then all 50 states and the District of Columbia have enforced the law that requires children to be immunized before being enrolled in school (Khalili & Caplan 2007, 471-476). However, some states have allowed certain exemptions. According to ProCon, the state of Mississippi and West Virginia allow children to be exempt from vaccination for religious reasons (2014). In addition, 20 states also exempt vaccination requirements in children for philosophical reasons.
Furthermore, in California the school immunization law requires...

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