Parents must make many decisions about their child, which vary from what brand of diapers to use to at what age to start a college fund. Parents also take responsibility for their child’s health, including deciding whether or not to vaccinate. Immunizations serve as the most efficient way to prevent possible life threatening diseases, including mumps, Hepatitis B, and polio, from affecting children, not only during adolescence, but also throughout their adult lives. Parents need to make the informed decision to vaccinate their children.
If asked about the subject of immunizations, almost any medical doctor will promote vaccination as the most effective intervention of modern medicine which prevented more suffering and saved more lives than any other medical procedure. Epidemic diseases, such as small pox or polio, which once plagued populations of Europe only some one hundred years ago, declined more than ninety percent thanks to the medical breakthrough of immunization (Schneibner XVII). Vaccinations, clearly, enabled the near to complete eradication of diseases, that historically claimed millions of lives (Binski 9).
The science behind immunization traces back to an ancient Indian practice called variolation, which meant intentionally exposing a virus to create immunity. In 1976, Dr. Edward Jenner used this concept to create the first contemporary vaccine. He managed to do this by obtaining cowpox matter from the arm of a dairy previously infected with smallpox, and introduced the sample into the arm of a healthy young boy. Miraculously, the vaccine made the boy immune to smallpox, and just like that the modern medicine forever changed (Binski 10).
Other medical professionals realized that introducing a weakened strain of a virus, made for a safe and effective approach to creating mass immunity (Binski 10). After Dr. Jenner’s breakthrough, vaccine use feverishly spread in several developed countries. Seeing the good vaccinations did for public health, in 1905 the United States Supreme Court concluded, “…compulsory vaccination laws by states and municipalities were constitutional” (Binski 10). By the mid-twentieth century, the elimination and control of diseases such as small pox and polio led towards mass immunity through the use of vaccines, and to date, vaccines are credited with safeguarding humans from over twenty once-deadly diseases. Vaccines, though very beneficial, “…are only beneficial when administered to the masses” (Binski 10). This characteristic made compulsory vaccination the standard or highly recommended in most well developed countries, so as to create heard immunity (Binski 12).
Common vaccines recommended to U.S. children include: (1) DPT vaccine: composed of diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid, and whole-cell killed pertussis; (2) OPV: the oral polio vaccine; (3) MMR: composed of weakened live measles, mumps, and rubella (also known as German measles) viruses; (4) Hib: haemophilus influenza type B; and...