Description of the Issues
Vaccination is one of the most important procedures for a person, especially at a young age. With many serious diseases threatening the population’s health, society must take preemptive action to prevent any further harm. Many contagious illnesses from the past were almost completely eradicated by vaccination and the development of herd immunity. Although nowadays, some people are starting to doubt the vaccine’s effectiveness, putting the community at a large risk. The solution to this problem is to mandate child immunization on the government level. In the face of many past diseases being brought back by negligence, the need to regulate vaccine application is becoming apparent. The process does have some problems, including the increased costs and the absence of a standardized framework for implementation.
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There are many types of vaccines according to the type of illness and the affected age demographic of children. Some vaccines are administered right after birth and need to be re-applied to have the intended effect, and some are effective permanently. Though mandatory vaccination may not increase vaccine uptake significantly, it is still worth trying for the sake of public health (Macdonald et al., 2018 pp. 5811). It can be difficult to afford and keep track of all the various shots a child needs, so a government-mandatory system may help the people protect their children better. The regulations should preferably extend until the age of 3 since young children do not have a well-developed immune system and are susceptible to disease.
When the vaccines were first introduced, one of the apparent immediate effects was the reduced contraction of many diseases, and some of them became completely harmless to the human population. With the recent developments, however, a vocal minority of people are starting to raise their doubts against the practice of immunization. Brought largely by misinformation, fearmongering and the lack of available information, theories about the potential harm the vaccines bring are actively surfacing on the internet. Quickly spreading through the web, this movement becomes a serious detriment to the efforts of disease control and containment and needs to be combatted by government regulation.
Who are the Stakeholders?
Three parties play a major role in the question of mandatory immunization: the healthcare providers, the parents, and the whole community. Healthcare professionals and organizations are the ones responsible for informing the public and administering vaccines. The parents, on their part, weigh the pros and cons of immunization and are concerned with the well-being of their children. Lastly, the community at large operates in the interests of development and self-preservation, influencing the judgment of individuals. These three stakeholders have their positions on the topic that need to be addressed.
Parents and the Community
When speaking about the population, research has shown that most people understand why vaccines are important for the well-being of individuals and the community. Parents naturally want the best for their children, meaning they will take the opportunity to protect them from disease given they know vaccines work. The informed individuals are usually shown to be in favor of mandated vaccine practices. One of the caveats that should be mentioned though, is that many people feel like the information available to the public about the effects of vaccination is not sufficient (Ames et al., 2017 pp.1). The key to making vaccines more popular with the people is spreading awareness and teaching people through appropriate channels.
Many people feel the need for clearer communication between healthcare providers and the public.
Healthcare professionals, as the people most informed about the benefits of vaccination, are largely in favor of mandatory immunization. The experts say that the hesitancy to vaccinate children is one of the biggest threats to public health and the most dangerous mistakes a person can make (Drew, 2019 pp. 575). Healthcare providers say that imposing restrictions and regulation immunization is one of the most effective ways of combating public negligence.
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Ames, H. et al. (2017) ‘Stakeholder perceptions of communication about vaccination in two regions of Cameroon: A qualitative case study’, Plos One, 12(8).
Drew, L. (2019) The case for mandatory vaccination. pp.575. Web.
Macdonald, N.E. et al. (2018) ‘Mandatory infant & childhood immunization: Rationales, issues and knowledge gaps’, Vaccine, 36(39), pp.5811–5818.