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Vaccinations, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

Vaccination is a term used in describing the introduction of an antigen into the body. This action is expected to stimulate the person’s immune system by producing antibodies against the pathogenic organism introduced through vaccination. However, two reactions can emerge from this process (Fiore et.al, 2009).

One could be the expected outcome whereby the individual’s immune system reacts positively and the individual becomes protected against the virus, bacteria or threatening organism. The other consequence lies in an exacerbation effect. In this case the body can respond through anaphylactic shock and the person dies shortly after the does is administered or he/she becomes severely ill after (Fiore et.al, 2009).

This presentation seeks to outline some major concerns regarding vaccinations in our society today. The nation’ children are compelled to take vaccines. This ideological premise is based on the fact that it prevents disease and act as a prophylactic measure. It is my desire to discuss the necessity of vaccines, the pros and con of vaccination and offer support findings from recent studies.

Required Versus Optional

Legislative attorney Kathleen Swendiman (2011) in her report to congress highlighted mandatory vaccination legislation and its requirement for entry into public schools across America. These include diphtheria, measles, rubella, polio, pertussis, and tetanus. Some states require students to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B and meningococcal infections also. The attorney contents that regardless of these laws many states provide exemptions for religious, philosophical and moral reasons (Swendiman, 2011).

Institutions employing health care workers also are mandated to vaccinate employees against tuberculosis, measles, mumps and rubella. As a condition for employment the Department of Defense requires all civilian employees to be vaccinated against the flu virus. Opt-out laws are also available for these vaccines if they are contraindicated for medical reasons (Swendiman, 2011).

The Emergency Health Powers Act allows governors through public health representation to issue mandatory vaccination orders if the population appears to be in danger of an epidemic due to the disaster. Immigrants entering the United States of American are mandated to have smallpox vaccines or whatever is the regulated shot pertaining to the country of origin (Swendiman, 2011). For admission to school smallpox, malaria, influenza and pneumonia vaccines are not mandatory.

Pros and Con of Vaccinations

Public health authorities claim that vaccines have been one of the greatest developments in public health over that past century. Current data shows where vaccines have eradicated many deadly diseases such a whooping cough, diphtheria and polio, which claimed the lives of our children. Therefore, there must be some sense to the vaccine madness as some have projected. Vaccination compliance over the past year across America has been 95, 41%.

Statistics comparing figures from the 1930’s reveal during that era there were 30,000 diphtheria cases per year. After the discovery and use of vaccines the disease has almost been eradicated by the 21st century. Since then reports have been that vaccine is valuable health care intervention.  For example, the Assistant Secretary for Health and Surgeon General U.S. Public Health Service, Dr David Stacher (1999), in 1999 reported to the House Committee on government reform that vaccination was the ‘20th century most successful, cost effective tools for preventing disease, disability and death’ (Stacher, 1999).

Immunization programs among school aged children have lowered infection rates by 95% since the first vaccine was used in 1955. The assistant secretary outlined successes gained by citing polio, which is no longer visible among children and young people across America. Overwhelming success came from destruction Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib),which infected approximately one in 200 children, under the age of five during 1988 (Stacher, 1999).

This bacterium was the leading causative organism for bacterial meningitis among children under five age group. The figure represented 60 % of all cases. Further impacts of the disease left 15 to 30 % of children either totally deaf or with hearing disabilities. Even with the best antibiotic intervention therapy the annual death rate among children climbed to 420. Hib vaccine successfully prevented the leading cause of acquired mental retardation in the United States of America through mandatory pre-school vaccination programs (Stacher, 1999).

However, this does not undermine the fact that some people demonstrate adverse effects to vaccination as they would to any drug or substance. Health officials are quite aware of this development and since then have established the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This system operates within guidelines emanating from the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. It accounts for reporting of conditions across the entire nation collaborating with Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (Stacher, 1999).

Some 11,000- 12,000 report are made to VAERS and investigated yearly. They are sent in by vaccine manufactures, physicians; public health clinicians and the general public. 15% of these are considered serious. Vaccine safety monitoring across the nation is a priority because many reports even though linked to the vaccination process many not be directly related to the vaccine itself. Therefore, thorough screening of the affected individual and investigating the process is undertaken (Stacher, 1999).

Research Studies on Vaccinations

The American Academy of Pediatrics highlighted studies denouncing the association of vaccine with autism dysfunction. Studies conducted in Poland compared vaccination history and autism diagnosis among 96 autistic children between the ages of 2 and 15, and a control group 192 children. The risk of developing autism in children who received MMR vaccine was lower than those who did not receive any. They concluded that there was no positive relationship between autism and measles vaccine (Mrozek-Budzyn, et. al, 2010).

A literature review conducted by Doja and Roberts (2006) published in the Canadian Journal of Neuroscience revealed that there were limited studies supporting a relationships between vaccines and autism. They contended that an overwhelming majority of the literature they reviewed showed no causal association between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. Their hypothesis stating that vaccine preservative thimerosal is related to autism was discredited for lack of convincing evidence. The conclusion suggested that with decreasing uptake of immunizations in children it was time for widespread education informing patients that there is no relationship of vaccines to autism (Doja & Roberts, 2006).

While speculations are soaring regarding the possible association between autism and MMR studies continue as more vaccines are manufactured and research studies pertaining to AIDS and herpes vaccines are ongoing. While scientists find it difficult to invent vaccines for these viruses Woods (2012) has undertaken research to improve vaccine accessibility in poor neighborhoods across the nation. The key words used to inform her literature review were homeless; vaccinations; vaccines; hepatitis and influenza.

The researcher was particularly concerned about hepatitis B infection among homeless people in the 21st century when vaccination is widespread. It was revealed that the rate of the disease is very high among homeless people accounting for 32% of the population. As part of the education dissemination and intervention drive a study was highlighted sensitizing administrators of homeless shelters towards vaccinating inmates (Wood, 2012).

Studies revealed that after inmates were educated through counseling and offered an incentive of $5 an overall 68% complied with the vaccination program. The researcher concluded that while HIV/AIDS is also another major concern among the homeless and there are no vaccines yet to control its spread public health can empower the homeless by making vaccine accessible to them. The contention is that homeless people are at high-risk for communicable diseases. Therefore, it is should be mandatory that they have access to vaccination services. It is recommended that more research be conducted in this area in providing evidence of their dilemma. Programs ought to focus on ‘well-designed, validated methods for delivering vaccines to this at risk population’ (Wood, 2012) was the researcher’s recommendation.

Conclusion

In concluding this discussion on vaccination it would be most appropriate to reference Betsch (2011) account of Innovations in communication: the Internet and the psychology of vaccination. The author suggests that scholars should endeavor to clarify predisposing processes and potential mediators of vaccination decisions (Betsch, 2011).

This strategy should assist in improving the relevance of vaccines as a health care intervention across societies. A great future challenge was embedded in evidence-based public health communication. The advice is that research should have an interdisciplinary approach involving public health, medical research, communication science and psychology (Betsch, 2011).

References

Betsch C. (2011). Innovations in communication: the Internet and the psychology of vaccination decisions.wEuro Surveill.16(17),

Doja A, Roberts W. (2006). Immunizations and Autism: A Review of the Literature. The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, 33(4), 341-6

Fiore, E. Bridges, B., & Cox, J. (2009). “Seasonal influenza vaccines”. Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immunol.. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology 333, 43–82.

Mrozek-Budzyn D, Kiełtyka A, Majewska R. (2010). Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 29(5):397-400.

Satcher, D. (1999). Statement on Risk vs Benefit of Vaccinations. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Swendiman, K. (2011). Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws. Washington. Congressional Research Service

Wood, P. (2012) Vaccination Programs among Urban Homeless Populations: A Literature Review. J Vaccines Vaccin 3:156.

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