The issue of mandatory immunizations for children has long been a debate among American citizens. With some studies linking certain vaccinations to conditions like autism, it is logical for parents to be a bit timid about what goes inside their children’s bodies. And as many states have decided to allow exemptions based upon philosophical beliefs, several other states have also recently begun to consider the same. Whether this is a good idea is still speculative.
In the past, diseases such as small pox were major epidemics. Through years of medical advancement, small pox – along with many other diseases – have been virtually eliminated within the United States. We have proof that these vaccinations are effective because such diseases no longer plague us. Although these mandatory vaccinations have served to keep the country free from epidemics of the past, many people are still finding reasons to fear them.
Concerning autism, there are no conclusive links between vaccinations and the condition. Even the Center for Disease Control has suggested there is still probably no connection. Yet still, people are continuing to fight vaccinations to ensure the safety of their children.
What scares me about this is that this kind of thinking can create another disease epidemic for our nation. When only a handful of kids out of the masses are not getting vaccinations, there is no need to worry about another epidemic. However, if more states approve legislation that allows immunizations to be less mandatory, there is potential for major problems.
Is there a single known cause for autism? No. Are there vaccinations that prevent the contraction of rubella and measles? Yes. Because there is no conclusive link between the condition and the immunizations, it is almost considered irresponsible not to vaccinate one’s children. Immunizations have been proven to do their job, and autism has failed to prove a significant connection to the vaccines.
Though I do understand that even the possibility of autism being derived from vaccinations can be frightening for some, I stand behind the belief that vaccinations should be mandatory. They have proven to be a godsend over the years, and I want to make sure I see vaccinations continue preventing the spread of disease.
By allowing more liberal exemption opportunities, anyone can find a reason not to vaccinate their children. And while some may not be affected, this could very well pave the way for a series of mini-epidemics of the very diseases the immunizations could have prevented.
Of course, no one likes being told what to do. Even less people like being told what they should do for their children. But when it comes to disease control, I do not believe that we should have that kind of power. It is not merely about one person’s child – it is about the fate of millions of children. Therein lies the danger.
Jordan Klosky is a sophomore majoring in journalism.