Vaccination represents one of the huge accomplishments of medical science in the American health care system. Vaccines have obtained a special position within the public and private health sectors as they convey considerable advantages not only to children who are immunized but also to the public at large. Currently, the Federal Government expends approximately $300 million annually funding vaccines in order that families can access them for free. Presently across the U.S, some parents choose not to vaccinate their children even when vaccination is more probable to result to a better outcome. However, all children, rich and poor alike, should be vaccinated as a result of the health and economic benefits that are derived (Vardaxis 108).
Belhorn defines vaccines as biological substances that interrelate with an individual’s immune system to generate an immune response equal to that caused by the natural infection (2). Consequently, vaccines prevent occurrence of illnesses and disabilities related with infectious diseases. Vaccination is an effective and efficient method that offers medical benefits to children, for instance, it controls the spread of infections or contagions in schools. By disrupting the spread of infectious disease, vaccines lessen the number of children who become infected, lessen the burden of disease, decrease private and public health care expenses, and enhance the quality of life of the general population. Additionally, vaccines have provided a net lasting savings in health care costs. Moreover, vaccines have led to a reduction in what would otherwise be used up on health care. The state and federal health agencies have borne considerable temporary costs of obtaining and distributing vaccines (CDC 2009).
Previously, tetanus, measles, polio, whooping cough, and diphtheria used to take the lives of thousands of children in the United States yearly. Currently, widespread vaccination programs in the U.S. have significantly diminished the previous outbreaks with a small percentage of side effects. Nowadays there are several vaccines for several diseases including Hepatitis B, Varicella (Chickenpox), Rubella (German measles), and Haemophilus influenzae type B. Nevertheless, these diseases are still existent and can become fatal if parents cease to have their children vaccinated for vaccine-preventable diseases. Childhood vaccination has a vital role to play in the prevention of illnesses amongst children, since it minimizes the possible impact of a variety of fatal diseases (CDC 2009). Hence, all children should be vaccinated to prevent unnecessary deaths and risks to public health. For instance, during 1955, the license of polio vaccine in the United States against wild-type virus abolished several deaths and paralytic cases. Previously, from 1952 to 1954, a total of 16, 316 polio paralytic cases and 1, 879 polio deaths were reported yearly in the western hemisphere (Health Care News 2010).
Currently in the United States, children receive vaccines regularly that protect them from viral and bacterial diseases. Hence, vaccines are important for children since they safeguard them from illnesses and death caused by infectious diseases. Having children vaccinated not only protects them from critical disease, but also assists to protect the rest of the community by reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Vaccines also protect children and pregnant mothers by preparing their bodies to resist serious diseases and fight against deadly diseases (CDC 2009) For example, between 1964 and 1965, Rubella virus resulted to approximately 20, 000 infants born with various birth defects such as blindness, heart disease, and deafness (Health Care News 2010).
The mortality of children in the United States has significantly reduced presently, than it was previously, specifically, from the stage of birth to the age of five years. After the introduction of vaccination, the deaths of children equal to five years of age have considerably reduced by 95%. Since the beginning of infant vaccination, Public Health has fulfilled its goal of having 90% or more infants receiving vaccination by age 2. It is clear that vaccination preserves yearly a definite number of children from the risk of contracting and dying of vaccine-preventable diseases. The reduction of childhood mortality has been credited to the vaccination treatment and public health tools. The reduced mortality rate amongst children and the increase of population clearly result from the positive effects of vaccination (Health Care News 2010).
The economic concern of failing to vaccinate a child and treating the disease later when it occurs is prohibitive. Given that a vaccine costs a tiny fraction of the cost that will be incurred in the treatment of a serious infectious disease and its entire complications. Moreover, several viral diseases are not open to medical treatment, once the disease is found in the body, it must be permitted to finish its course, with often severe complications and even death. Several bacterial diseases, for example, diphtheria and tetanus are attributable to minute quantities of powerful toxins which may result to death or permanent tissue damage. If such diseases are not diagnosed and treated quickly, death is most often the end result (Wyeth Nutrition 2008).
Besides, all children should be vaccinated because the vaccines which function by lessening or obstructing transmission of the pathogen have a possibility of inducing herd immunity on an extensive population where targeted vaccination occurs. In the case of herd immunity, when an adequate number of children in the population are immunized against an infectious disease, the children without immunization will be safe guarded as the invading germ will be unable to spread. The vaccinated child will also offer protection against the disease to the rest of the children. For instance, Infants less than two months old are predominantly susceptible to pertussis (whooping cough) with deadly consequences. On the other hand, since the infants immune systems are not completely developed, they cannot receive vaccination for pertussis. Older children will thus receive vaccination that will protect the younger children .The effect of increased herd immunity contributing to the decrease of infectious disease was also witnessed in the reduction of diphtheria cases where its outbreak diminished dramatically after extensive vaccination programs were embarked on (Mikesell 9).
Another major reason why all children should be vaccinated is to prevent them from suffering unnecessarily and dying as a result of their parents’ refusal to vaccinate them due to religious or philosophical reasons. Parents’ refusal to vaccinate children has a negative effect of increasing the number of children vulnerable to a certain infection thereby reducing herd immunity. This can result to a high risk of national epidemic for which contemporary facilities and hospitals are not prepared to manage (Mikesell p. 9).
In addition, children who are vaccinated obtain the benefit of reduced likelihood that they will contract a certain disease, a direct gain of reduced medical costs to the parents as well as to the state. For example, the United States saves approximately $ 8.50 in direct medical costs for each dollar spent in diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine. Moreover, each dollar used up on measles-mumps-rubella vaccine produces approximately $ 13 in total savings or about approximately $ 4 billion annually. A child’s parent or guardian derives economic benefits from reduced doctor’s visits and hospitalizations (Health Care News 2010).
Childhood vaccination has remained to be among the most cost-effective public health intervention in the United States and around the globe. The risks of vaccination are minimal if weighed against the health risks associated with the vaccine-preventable diseases. When evaluating the advantages of childhood vaccination against the disadvantages, vaccination remains as the only valid and humane option .Hence, the above reasons of childhood vaccination coupled with the knowledge of basic immunology offer sufficient explanation on why all children should be vaccinated (Vardaxis 108).