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Childhood Vaccinations, Article Review Example

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Article Review

Public and community health approach wellness from a broad perspective which seeks to improve the health of communities through preventative measures, research, and public awareness campaigns.  Public health agencies receive financial support at both the local and federal level to assist in implementing programs that improve the life of the entire population (Healthy States, 2009).  Public health differs from personal health in that public health practitioners try to prevent disease and illness from occurring, rather than treating individuals after symptoms have arisen (Association of Schools of Public Health, n.d.).  Public health

Conflict can sometimes arise within communities when the goals of public health officials meets resistance from the individuals that they are seeking to assist. For example, some controversy has arisen over the possible connection between childhood vaccinations and health problems like autism.  Media attention towards this issue has led to some parents avoiding vaccinations, despite the reassurances of public health officials, which has broader implications regarding the resurgence of childhood diseases like mumps and polio (Mooney, 2009).  Public health advocates and policy managers can work towards preventing and managing such conflicts through media campaigns which increasing the general awareness of the public regarding current research into the safety and efficacy of vaccinations for children.

Public health assessments are helpful in the formation of public policy because they survey the needs and health concerns of specific communities with an aim to creating programs that will assist in eliminating certain health and wellness issues before the problem can get out of control (Healthy States, 2009).  Currently, there exists legislation regarding the need for children to have received their vaccinations before attending school in order to ensure that preventable diseases are not spread amongst the general population.  This has raised some controversy regarding the rights of parents to make individualized choices for their children, especially in the wake of the autism controversy.  All states in the United States allow for exemptions based on religious reasons, while some also allow for parents to enrol their children in school without having had their immunizations for philosophical or medical reasons (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2011).

The legislation surrounding childhood vaccinations, which are tracked through a national registry, demonstrates the difficulty in public health policy of balancing an individual’s rights against the rights of the community to be protected from disease.  Vaccinations have eliminated or greatly reduced the appearance of many childhood diseases from the general population.  Without mandates concerning vaccinations, there is the potential that communities could see the return of some of these diseases, creating a major problem for families, the health care system, and public health departments.   However, public health agencies continue to adapt their policies to reflect concerns within the communities which they serve.  Although school vaccination laws are state-based and subject to recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, many states now allow for public health agencies to change school requirements at their own discretion or through legislative action (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2011).  This demonstrates that public health agencies are reflective of the needs and concerns of their communities, and are constantly working to determine how best to serve these communities while not overstepping their bounds in regards to individual rights.

References

Association of Schools of Public Health. (n.d.). What is public health. Retrieved from www.whatispublichealth.org/index.html.

Healthy States. (2009). Public health issues. The Council of State Governments. Retrieved from www.healthystates.csg.org/Public+Health+Issues/

Mooney, C. (June 2009). Why does the vaccine/autism controversy live on? Discover Magazine. Retrieved from http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jun/06-why-does-vaccine-autism-controversy-live-on

National Conference of State Legislatures. (April 2011). Immunizations. Retrieved from www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=14383#reg

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