The current thinking on whether to immunize has resulted into mixed reactions that have been obtained from the importance and negative effects of immunization. It is without doubt that immunization has been vital in healthcare delivery. There are several case4s when this practice has saved lives. Perhaps, it is necessary to ask ourselves some critical questions on the pros and cons of immunizat6ion. When both extremes have been discussed, it will be quite easy to explore the other details that demand top be addressed. According to Davey (52), critics of immunization have indicated that the use of vaccine for preventing illnesses presents key challenges. Though it may reduce the number of infections, the safety, effectiveness, ethics and morality of immunization may pose major controversies. This paper discusses the health benefits and possible risks of immunization. I have explored both the pros and cons and also took my individual position at the end of the paper.
It has been adequately argued out and supported by health experts that vaccination is rather important in the prevention and elimination of health complications and illnesses (Davey 45). As a matter of fact, millions of lives of people suffering from common infections such as pneumonia or influenza and others with disabilities have been rescued. Most importantly, is the reduction of possible deaths among children. Even so, Fogel and Bateman suggest that people should not be misled by this success to a level that they assume that immunization should be discontinued for health risk reasons or alternative methods (134).
Individuals and organizations that do not support alternative treatment have made it clear that even with the reduction of illnesses, several harmful health effects have occurred. Such opponents include Holland and Habakus who indicate that the success of immunization has mainly been a factor that is based on hygiene and improved sanitation (159). They argue that before vaccinations were introduced, individuals could eliminate chances of acquiring and transmitting illnesses via proper hygiene and improved sanitation. Even though scientific data does not offer support to such claims, relevant studies point towards significant fluctuation of vaccine-preventable illnesses before immunization was practiced.
When issues related to healthcare delivery are used, vaccines have been blamed for the cause of long term adverse effects. Some of the many illnesses that may result from immunization include multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders and autism. Due to the vast implications and widespread notions of diseases related to vaccination, immunization has been given a key focus by Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) points out that the main objective of monitoring the effects attributed to vaccination has been to reduce the uncertainty and fear among individuals and patients. Taking into consideration the increasing number of children affected by the effects of vaccination every year, Flaws argues that reducing this number by conducting evidence causative relationship research may remarkably facilitate the ability to contribute a lot towards improved health (120).
One key threat to immunization is vaccine overload. Flaws indicate that this practice impacts negatively on the immune system of a child by weakening it (118). While this has been a major problem towards vaccination, health experts have pointed out that health departments are keen in ensuring that immunological component vaccines are controlled. Flaws further indicates that interventions on possible threats have largely been centered on minimizing overload to limit harm on patients (134).
Critics of the practice of immunization have voiced their concern over the current state of strong immunization campaigns in spite of warning against its adverse effects. In their view, Holland and Habakus observed that this has been guided by financial motives that are advanced by vaccine industries (190). They have used their campaigns to influence policy decisions on vaccine use, suppressed anti-vaccine information and covered the dangers as well as ineffectiveness of certain vaccines. As a matter of fact, Holland and Habakus add that it is not surprising that every opposition in writing or article has received sharp criticism and thus taken as a myth (134).
Conversely, the controversial and adverse effects of vaccines are a major source of revenue for alternative medicine practitioners who discredit it for alternative treatment according to critics. While this debate has witnessed huge differences in opinions on the matter, better treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, chelation therapy and procedures have been introduced to help alleviate possible illnesses.
The option of alternative medicine can be traced back to ancient philosophies that supported the use of methods which could not pose threats to patients. Such philosophies were based on naturopaths, homoeopaths and the practice of chiropractic community. According to Flaws, the latter is based on the fact that all sources of diseases are traceable, treatable and therefore offer no room for inoculating a healthy person with poison to prevent a disease (170). Even though this argument is controversial, it makes sense for opponents of vaccination in the sense that everything has a cause and dealing with a cause of a problem is better that another possible health threat needed to counter it.
The question that alternative medicine raises is the effectiveness of the practice, time factor to trace roots of illnesses bearing in mind the complicated nature of current types of illnesses and the mechanisms related to dealing with various health problems. Fogel and Bateman posit that unlike alternative medicine which has no strong foundation, vaccinations are very effective (145). They are results of careful review and tests by healthcare professionals, doctors and scientists. While many opponents confuse adverse effects for tenderness, redness, pain and discomforts during vaccinations, Fogel and Bateman are categorical that there is no link between adverse effects like autism with vaccine (100). Their view is strongly supported by federal agencies, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Institute of Medicine (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention par. 4).
Religion is a strong force that medicine has found immense trouble dealing with especially in terms of ethics, principles and morality. Since the inception of vaccination, it has never received support from the religious circle. While the religious emphasis of life’s sacredness has increasingly been pushed aside in the immunization debate, the creation of rubella vaccine made from tissues of therapeutic aborted infants presents a strong case that is worth considerating. Walene indicates that even though immunization plays a critical role in preventing a child from diseases and securing the health of a generation, moral concerns should override the need for health provision (120).
Opponents of the above position cite Thomas Aquinas’ principle of double effect that under specific circumstances and especially where the health of a child is concerned, the questioned of morality should not be an issue. Flaws points out that people’s actions should be judged depending on their obligation to duty (90). In particular, this contrasts the consequential perspective which emphasizes that an action should be considered good if only the underlying will is proper. Under this consideration, individuals should always act in the manner that their actions are universally acceptable.
Walene considers immunization to be misguiding and morally wrong because it creates the sense of a possible option for both the doctors and patients to terminate life in order to obtain cells for rubella vaccine (50). The incorporated notion of beneficence is critical at this instance bearing in mind that patients’ wellbeing should be the overriding factor. Kant’s deontological reference of man being the end as opposed to being the means to accomplish the end reflects the central emphasis for considering life with utmost dignity when creating vaccines.
My perspective and conclusions
The nature of the society we live in should strongly be factored when making conclusions on whether to support immunization in medical practice. While the management of diseases, viral or bacterial infections are done with the aim of promoting the wellbeing of patients, the administration of lethal doses has the potential to cause harm to susceptible individuals with immune-deficiencies. Under the tenet of categorical imperative, one would argue that people are allowed to commit some harm if the intention is to improve life and overall health standards. A typical example is the creation of rubella vaccines from therapeutic abortions and the administration of virus and bacteria on the weak immune system of a child without considering the possible health risks.
Despite all the negative considerations regarding immunization, I strongly support immunization because it works well in terms of saving a child’s life against diseases. It is effective and has been proven to be safe. Besides, in comparison to alternative medicine, immunization is cost effective and saves time since most of them are given at free charge or subsidized costs. Hence, it saves the cost of alternative treatment. While several people have been hasty to refute immunization, such consideration undermines the demand to facilitate improvement of general health standards of the society. In spite of the above research, I still choose not to immunize due to my personal beliefs. Nonetheless, I support those around me who choose to do so without biased or judgment. I am also not attempting to sway their belief systems in any way.
Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC). Immunization.2013. Web.
Davey, Sheila. State of the World’s Vaccines and Immunization. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2009. Print.
Flaws, Bob. Keeping your child healthy with Chinese medicine: a parent’s guide to the care and prevention of common childhood disease. Boulder, CO: Blue Poppy Press, 2007. Print.
Fogel, Bruce and Mary-Anne, Bateman, Knowledge of oneness: letters of enlightenment from beyond the veil, Victoria, BC: Agio Publishing House, 2008. Print.
Holland, Mary and Louise, Habakus. Vaccine epidemic: how corporate greed, biased science, and coercive government threaten our human rights and children. New York, NY: Centre for Personal Rights, Inc., 2011, Print.
Walene, James. Immunization: the reality behind the myth, volume 3. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., 1995. Print.