Vaccines are a popular topic of debate with two extreme positions. The controversy regarding whether an individual is required or free to choose to vaccinate oneself has been an ongoing dispute, with some U.S. residents refusing to vaccinate themselves and their families and others opposing their decisions by promoting the use of these vaccines. Vaccines have been produced in order to help the immune system limit the risk of being contaminated by life-threatening diseases, but it has also been proven that these injections may also contribute to equally lethal side effects and disorders. Although some may argue that the side effects of vaccines are not worth the risk, the benefits far outweigh the negatives because they decrease the chances of fatal diseases returning on a public scale, they help protect the individual and those around them, and they are cheaper than receiving treatments for vaccine-preventable diseases.
Seeing as there are still various illnesses that are able to affect the general public, vaccines contribute to their prevention and ensure that the community is free from these diseases. Severe illnesses are more likely to be spread in areas where U.S. citizens are not vaccinated such as Louisiana and Ohio, two of the least vaccinated states (Mullin 2015). In a 2019 report concerning the recent measles outbreak in the U.S., it was stated that, “As of September 5, 2019, 130 of the [900+] people who got measles this year were hospitalized, and 65 reported having complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis,” (cdc.org 2019) which demonstrates the grave results that these diseases have on large populations. Cities with a lower vaccination rate are proven to be significantly more prone to sickness and can result in a nationwide spread of illnesses ranging from measles to smallpox, both of which now have efficient and specific immunizations for them. Getting vaccinated is a crucial process in avoiding further deadly epidemics and protects the health and wellbeing of the general public by training their immune systems to fight off viruses.
In addition to the prevention of diseases returning to communities, especially in the era of advanced, modern medicine, citizens should be held responsible for the effects they have on those around them. The spread of infections is not possible solely at the hands of one individual; the infection must reach others and eventually contaminate an entire area. Community immunity, the concept of vaccinating oneself and one’s family in order to protect the overall community, reduces the chances of an outbreak occurring in a population. If enough people are vaccinated, then those who are unable to get vaccinated due to medical issues are granted some form of protection (vaccines.gov 2018). The cooperation of a community increases their general immunity, something that my family and I have always taken into consideration. It is important to realize the impact that family vaccinations have on the rest of a population, which is why my family never fails to get immunized through vaccines. We firmly believe that it is our duty to protect both ourselves and those surrounding us from life-threatening diseases and as a result, our immune systems have grown very strong and the chances of us developing any serious illnesses are extremely low.
Not only are vaccines efficient in contributing to the prevention of diseases from spreading to large groups of people, they are also much cheaper and easier to receive than the treatments of illnesses that vaccines are meant to prevent. As mentioned in a “Los Angeles Times” article regarding the costs of measles treatments, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of immunization for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated, “The total cost of a single measles case, including the medical care typically required, is around $32,000,” (Karlamanga 2019). The total cost for a measles vaccine without health insurance, however, is roughly around $80 and free with health insurance (cdc.org 2019). It is naturally more financially beneficial to receive these recommended vaccines, especially since illnesses may last for a lifetime with many medical bills eventually adding up; by making sure to get vaccinated, a future filled with costly medical bills and risky treatments can be avoided.
Undoubtedly, it can be admitted that vaccines can cause a variety of possible side effects and disorders that would potentially jeopardize the wellbeing of those receiving these vaccines. Though this statement appears to be valid, most side effects are very mild and may include swelling, redness, and soreness whereas the serious side effects are rarer and are less likely to be as severe as the disease itself. Each vaccine is thoroughly examined, tested, and approved before it is available for public distribution and the greatest risk regarding vaccinations is potentially getting sick after exposure to a deadly disease that was easily preventable (Boulanger 2018). Vaccines are essentially the most practical method of disease prevention and despite the possibilities of side effects being able to impair the individual through slight deficiencies, vaccines allow them to dodge imperiling sicknesses and probable consequences.
By receiving vaccines recommended by medical experts, individuals are granted protection from and abundance of viruses and are able to intensify their immunity to these diseases. In spite of the fault that anti-vaccine groups place on varying reactions to immunization, the benefits of vaccines ultimately offset the slim chances of lethal side effects. Not only are the chances of serious epidemics reduced, but it is also less costly to receive vaccines than to pay for piling medical bills and large groups of people are protected with the help of community immunity and a cooperative, vaccinated community. Encouraging vaccinations allows these treatments to serve their purpose as helpful resources to enhance the quality of living and preserve the health of the public, both of which are crucial components of a lively, thriving population.