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Should Vaccinations Be Required for Public School Students?

Vaccination of the population today remains the most acute and discussed problem in light of the events associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Large-scale immunization programs are one of the most successful public health interventions, especially in the United States, overall vaccination coverage is very high. Kindergarten students fulfill these requirements before entering school; it is necessary to achieve and maintain high immunization rates and reduce outbreaks of infectious diseases. Otherwise, insufficiently immunized children can jeopardize herd immunity, which can later lead to dire consequences. Thus, vaccination must be mandatory for students to attend public schools.

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The argument for required vaccination could be based on the human benefits of the process in a global sense. Since it includes defense mechanisms that protect the body from the pathogenic action of microbes and viruses, the body becomes immune to the disease against which it is vaccinated. Vaccination against mumps, rubella, whooping cough, and viral hepatitis B has made it possible to achieve a sporadic incidence of these infections. However, as soon as the level of population immunity decreases, the “return” of the infection is inevitable. Many examples have accumulated that even the slightest weakening of attention to vaccination immediately reminds us of its importance in new epidemics (Delamater et al., 2019). There is a clear inverse relationship between vaccination coverage and morbidity—the more vaccinated, the fewer the sick.

Moreover, vaccination is one of the best ways to protect children against infectious diseases that caused serious illness before vaccines were available. The unfounded criticism of vaccination in the press was caused by the desire to inflate sensations from individual cases of post-vaccination complications. Side effects are common to all drugs, including vaccines. However, getting a complication from vaccination is much smaller than the risk from the consequences of an infectious disease in unvaccinated children.

The right to protection from diseases is a choice of every person. However, the mandatory nature of the issue can be justified by the benefits not only for oneself but also for society. When vaccinated, a person is likely to be protected from the target disease, but everyone cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. Living with other vaccinated people, they have a chance to be protected. When many people in the community are vaccinated, it is difficult for the pathogen to circulate and survive because most people it encounters are immune (Savulescu, 2021). Thus, the more other people are vaccinated, the less chance that people who cannot be protected are at the risk of suffering from harmful pathogens. Unfortunately, no vaccine offers a 100% protection guarantee, just as herd immunity cannot provide complete protection for those who cannot be vaccinated. Herd immunity enables these people to receive significant protection due to the vaccination of those in their environment.

To conclude, coming to school, children are exposed to high intellectual and emotional stress and undergo periods of adaptation; all this weakens the immune system. During this period, children are especially at risk of developing infectious diseases and need protection. Timely vaccination and revaccination help: protect the child from infection, prevent absenteeism and reduce the risk of infection in a vulnerable group of children. Therefore, the required vaccination of students to attend public schools may be justified. A general understanding of social responsibility in the issue of vaccination is necessary. It is important to realize that vaccination, especially from an early age, activates the immune system’s defense mechanisms and contributes to the protection of health in the early stages of adulthood. The authorities should also take measures and introduce requirements that oblige students to be vaccinated; the active response of civil society will be fostered by confidence in government. Joint efforts will promote herd immunity and a healthier society.


Delamater, P. L., Pingali, S. C., Buttenheim, A. M., Salmon, D. A., Klein, N. P., & Omer, S. B. (2019). Elimination of nonmedical immunization exemptions in California and school-entry vaccine status. Pediatrics, 143(6), 1-11.

Savulescu, J. (2021). Good reasons to vaccinate: Mandatory or payment for risk? Journal of Medical Ethics, 47(2), 78-85.

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