Vaccination has been a controversial subject for many years. In the recent past, debates on vaccination have been held in the public with many people declaring their stand on the matter. Failure to vaccinate has caught up with us with there being cases of disease outbreaks, most of which are preventable with a vaccine. Diseases such as Zika and Ebola are keeping scientist on toes with there being a rush to develop vaccines. Over the years, there has been extensive education of the masses and proper explanation of how vaccines work. Despite the progress, people in advanced nations and those with access to vaccines are still not vaccinating their children and have a staunch opinion regarding vaccines. With this, the question; why is there too much controversy in the administration of vaccines, more especially in the developed nations will be addressed. With the introduction of vaccines, most people have not experienced massive outbreaks of diseases; there have also been no educational programs that address the impact that vaccines have had on the society thus there is massive public ignorance.
There has been much misunderstanding about vaccines dating back to when western medicine began using them (Stern & Markel, 2005). Propaganda was spread on people suffering from smallpox with newspapers caring cartoons of people vaccinated against smallpox and eventually sprouts cow body parts, directly linked to being immunized (Stern & Markel, 2005). On the other hand, the governments were imprisoning people and parents who denied vaccination to their children, bringing about much controversy since being coerced into something seemed mysterious at the time. Moreover, the fear of science back then, which was well founded among the masses made very few people submit to immunization.
Background and Critical Analysis
In a nutshell, the current fear can directly be attributed to the reduced fear of the actual illness. Many people have little or no memory of some of the most contagious diseases and the impact that they had on society. The desire to make personal decisions as opposed to following the required process worsens the issue. The expressed fear of scientific development brought about massive fear in immunizing children. Moreover, important personalities have played a role in misleading people against vaccines, even though none of the stated is scientifically proven (Tahamtan, Charostad, Shokouh, & Barati, 2017).
The work titled, "the history of vaccines" by Stern and Markel (2005) starts with a horrifying narration of how life was before vaccines. People gasping for breath, the sounds of iron lungs, and sounds made by bracelets designed for children affected by polio filled the air. The authors intend to use the narration as a wakeup call to Americans who may not know how life was before the invention of vaccines. The author gives facts on the infant mortality rate and how it has changed over the years. Around a century ago, the infant mortality rate was 20%, the childhood mortality rate before the age of five was also 20% (Stern & Markel, 2005). The deaths are directly attributed to the lack of preventive medicines and effective therapies to control infectious diseases such as measures and diphtheria. In conclusion, by Stern and Markel (2005) state that most of the infections have been controlled due to the availability of cheap and effective vaccines (Chang, 2018; Tahamtan et al., 2018). History has proven that vaccines are some of the greatest achievements in the field of medicine.
On the future of vaccines, Stern & Markel (2005) state that human struggle with germs cannot be stopped or eliminated by vaccines. The future of human health is still at risk with HIV and Malaria compromising human health and still killing humans despite the advancement in technology. Unlike the great past that human vaccines have had, the future is not all that good since there are various challenges, including various strains of the disease-causing microorganisms. Stern and Markel (2005) wrap up their findings by stating that Jenner's' cowpox vaccine discovery is an indication that we can expect greater changes in the area of vaccinology, however, hindrances that exist such as lack of funding or streamlined funding mechanisms may mean that lives around the globe may remain at risk (Chang, 2018; Stern & Markel, 2005)
Miller (2015) brings a new point of view to the debate on vaccines, in the paper titled "Controversies and challenges of vaccination." He agrees that concern on vaccine safety is of top priority, and it is of much importance to the anti-vaxxers, whenever there are safety concerns, they must be quickly investigated and arising issues handled rigorously. In the paper, he states that there are some complications that have risen after vaccination. In other instances, there has been an increase in the incidences of disease, and it tends to coincide with vaccination (Chang, 2018). For instance, the MMR vaccine has been directly linked to autism, even though it was associated with the vaccine in some cases and ecological association in others (Tahamtan et al., 2018).
Miller (2015) examines the reasons why the anti-vaxxers have been successful in convincing the masses against vaccination. For instance, the distrust in scientific establishment that promote vaccination has been portrayed negatively. The lack of a proper risk-benefit analysis has been influential in creating bias in the vaccination industry. Moreover, the suspicion that those pushing for vaccination are on the payroll of big pharmaceutical companies' poses essential challenges to the vaccination efforts (Tahamtan et al., 2018). Miller (2015) describes how personal and pseudoscientific beliefs such as vaccines can overload the immune system are in the way of a successful vaccination campaign. On the other hand, Miller expresses the risk that comes along with making vaccination compulsory, legislation may be essential in improving compliance, but it will be violating individual of choice (Miller, 2015; Stern & Markel, 2005). However, failing to get vaccinated creates a risk to themselves and also to others. Miller wraps up his work by stating that vaccines are essential in the safety of human health; however, the safety of a new vaccine can only be confirmed after thousands have been vaccinated and a risk-benefit analysis done (Miller, 2015)
Chang (2018) examines the effect of information, education, and health behaviors on parents and the decisions to vaccinate their children. From the research, the mother's education level has a direct impact on the decision to vaccinate or not. Chang focuses more on the MMR-autism controversy, and from his research, it is clear that there was a decline in immunization rate when the controversy began. The MMR controversy spilled over to other vaccines, and it harmed the vaccination rate (Miller, 2015). For the educated mothers, their reaction to the controversy was a bit different; they either failed to vaccinate their children or delayed the vaccination. From his findings, States that had the media focus more on controversy had a higher educational gap as compared to those that had a lower gap. From existing studies, the difference in health is directly contributed to educated individuals understanding and responding to the information quickly. Comparing the United Kingdom to the United States, the educational gap was eliminated, and the link of diseases eliminated where else there was a significant educational gap in the United States (Chang, 2018).
Trevors and Saier (2011) bring in a new perspective on immunization. They state that lack of immunization isn't the challenge, but the ignorance surrounding the topic. For them, the lack of enough knowledge about the world that we live in causes much danger to humans as compared to the mere lack of immunization. For them, the physical laws that govern the planet are still the same that rule the universe. Therefore, there is a need for those in authorities to act in the interest of the common good. The existence of capitalism is a threat to humans and the entire globe (Tahamtan et al., 2018).
The two authors go-ahead to explore issues beyond vaccination; for instance, they declare the lack of willpower among the elites to manage global warming. They also give a deeper analysis on the issue of smoking, even though it was evident that smoking was responsible for human deaths, the debate on whether to control smoking went on for years since much lies were propagated on the effects of smoking. Besides smoking, capitalism as a social vice turned attention to aerosols. The fact that aerosols brought about the depletion of the ozone layer was opposed and portrayed as being wrong; it was not until the damage had been done to the environment that they were banned.
Trevors and Saier, (2011) link the issue of vaccines with the previous examples; they state that even though the vaccines may be helpful, there is a need to look into the issues of concern raised and respond to them. On the other hand, there is a need for people to refrain from ignorance. Avoiding mysticism and mythology are essential in helping shift attention from destruction to betterment of humanity, with a proper understanding of the vaccines, Trevors and Saier, (2011) state that the damage from lack of vaccination will be reduced.
Even though some parents recognize the need for having their children vaccinated, vaccine hesitancy is a major issue today. McKee and Bohannon, (2016) explore the reasons why parents refuse to have their children vaccinated and settle on religious beliefs, personal beliefs, safety concerns and psychological beliefs as the primary reasons why children are not vaccinated (Miller, 2015; Wu et al., 2007). Based on the four categories, there was a broad spectrum of decisions, including parents completely refusing to vaccinate their children, delaying vaccinations to spread them out and also personal concerns on the same. McKee and Bohannon (2016) emphasize the need for health care providers to be well informed on these issues to be in a position to educate the hesitant parent. When the health care workers are well educated, they are in a position to best recommend the vaccines, understand the working of the immunizations, and provide recommendations to the parents (Miller, 2015). McKee and Bohannon (2016) state that a face to face conversation will help provide reliable information and booster confidence on the hesitant parents.
With an understanding of the risks faced to children across the globe, the world health organization started to expand the immunization programs that it had. According to Kagone et al. (2018), the expanded immunization program (EPI) by WHO has helped achieve a high level of immunization across the globe. The EPI programs have been essential in bringing down the rate of childhood morbidi...
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