Vaccination Debates - The Pros And The Cons

During the 20th Century, health and medical scholars had labeled vaccination as one of the top ten achievements. Yet we have seen much opposition to vaccines today. And a lot of vaccines debates are still ongoing with concerning safety and efficacy.

Worried parents want to protect their kids from any possible hazard. It is the time we inject some reality into the vaccination controversy around. “Should I really be injecting my healthy child with these things?” – This is a very factual question that parents ask.

Vaccine controversies occurred even before the vaccination and vaccine terms came into existence about 80 years ago! Despite the scientific agreement on the recommendation of vaccines to be safe and effective, deaths and outbreaks still occur from vaccine-preventable diseases which really scare every one of us! But as an outcome of the vaccines discovered in the 20th Century, parents and many health care providers of the 21st Century have inadequate knowledge about the devastating effects of diseases such as polio, smallpox, measles etc. or probably no experience of it. The overall fear of disease has migrated through the years to the concerns about vaccine safety. Parental refusal of the vaccine has been increasing day by day even though science has refuted many of the misconceptions.

Here we are going to look into some basic prevalent controversies and arguments against vaccinations – whether mandatory vaccination policies violate civil liberty, or religious beliefs and principles, MMR vaccination causing autism,

No US law mandates the use of any vaccination; however, 50 states require certain vaccinations for children entering the public schools. There are medical and religious exemptions that some states allow based on philosophical exemption Opponents say that children’s immune system is good enough and strong to deal with most infections naturally. So should vaccination be compulsory? And would have any adverse reaction in the kids like Autism, ADHD or diabetes?


Vaccination Debate - Pros and Cons of Vaccinations:

Pro Vaccination Argument 1:

Vaccines save children’s lives. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that “most childhood vaccines are 90%-99% effective in preventing diseases”. Vaccines save millions of children from preventable diseases every year.

Con Vaccination Argument 1:

Vaccinations can cause serious and sometimes fatal side effects. According to the CDC (Centers for disease control and prevention) “all vaccines carry a risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) in about one per million children.” Long-term seizure, permanent brain damage, coma, lowered consciousness with the DTaP (Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), MMR Vaccines, though the CDC notes the interference of the reaction makes it difficult to determine causality. The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) says “vaccines may be linked to learning disabilities, asthma, autism, diabetes, chronic inflammation, and other disabilities”.

Pro Vaccination Argument 2:

The ingredients in vaccines are in the quantities which are safe to be used. Ingredients such as formaldehyde, aluminum, and thimerosal can be unsafe in large doses which is not the case in the vaccines as the quantities do not exceed the limit. Breastfed babies are more exposed to aluminum than the infants who are exposed to in vaccinations. Kids are exposed to viruses, germs, bacteria, and toxins etc. in every day’s normal activity as compared to the vaccines. The FDA confirms more than 10 years of testing for vaccines before they can be licensed and are further monitored by the CDC and FDA to confirm the vaccines and the ingredients used are safe for the vaccination.

Con vaccination argument 2:

Vaccines contain harmful ingredients. There are physicians who believe thimerosal which is an organic mercury compound sometimes found in one flu vaccine for children and vaccines for adults which are linked to autism. Excess aluminum can cause neurological harm in human body which is used in some vaccines. Some vaccines use Formaldehyde which effects cardiac impairment or central nervous system depression, “changes in higher cognitive functions”, convolutions, coma, and death. Glutaraldehyde, a compound which helps as a disinfectant and dental equipment, is used in DTaP vaccinations and exposure to it could cause asthma and other respiratory problems. Some polio, DTaP, TD vaccines which have 2-phenoxyethanol, which acts as an antibacterial that irritates skin and eye can cause a headache, shock, cardiac, kidney damage, convulsions and kidney failures or damage, cardiac and death. Vaccinations for PCV, DTaP, Hep A, Hep B, HPV, and Hib has yeast proteins which can cause migraines, asthma, IBS, diabetes, ADD, seizure, Alzheimer’s and stroke.


Pro Vaccination Argument 3:

Major medical organizations say that vaccines are safe. These are the safe organizations: CDC, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), (AMA) American Medical Association, (AAP) American Academy of Pediatrics, (IOM) Institute of Medicine, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), UNICEF, (WHO) World Health Organization, Canadian Pediatric Society, Public Health Agency of Canada, (NIFD) National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and (AAFP) American Academy of Family Physicians. WHO confirms “Vaccines are very safe” and so does the US Department of Health and Human Services says “Vaccines are some of the safest medical products available.”

Con Vaccination Argument 3:

The government must not intervene in the individual medical choices. Medical decisions for kids should be left to their parents to decide or the caretakers. The co-founder of National Vaccine Information Center, Barbara Low Fisher, mentioned, "If the State can tag, track down and force citizens against their will to be injected with biological products of known and unknown toxicity today, there will be no limit on which individual freedoms the State can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow.” In an October 19, 2011, article "Government Vaccines – Bad Policy, Bad Medicine,", Ron Paul, MD, former US Representative (R-TX) confirmed said, "intimately personal medical decisions should not be made by government… Freedom over one’s physical person is the most basic freedom of all, and people in a free society should be sovereign over their own bodies. When we give the government the power to make medical decisions for us, we, in essence, accept that the state owns our bodies."

Pro Vaccination Argument 4:

It is extremely rare that any adverse reactions happen due to the vaccines. As said by Sanjay Gupta who is the Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN and practicing neurosurgeon, commented: "you are 100 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine that protects you against measles." Ellen Clayton, JD, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and co-author of the 2011 IOM report and Law at Vanderbilt Law School "Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines," concluded the results of the report: "The MMR vaccine does not cause autism… The MMR and DTaP do not cause Type 1 diabetes. And the killed flu vaccine does not cause Bell’s palsy, and it does not trigger episodes of asthma." There have been no adverse effects of combination vaccines like MMR (measles, rubella, and mumps) since the mid-1940s.

Con Vaccination Argument 4:

Mandatory vaccines interfere with constitutionally protected religious freedoms. Several religions oppose vaccines and compulsory vaccinations. Few Christian Scientists consider vaccinations against their religion because founder Mary Baker Eddy specified that the "calm, Christian state of mind is a better preventative of contagion than a drug, or than any other possible sanative method… the ‘perfect Love’ that ‘casteth out fear’ is a sure defense." Also, the Church of Illumination mentioned that "the teachings of the Church unequivocally affirm that injections of vaccines and inoculations are a violation of these biblical teachings… Immunizations and vaccinations are a form of blood pollution because they have devastating effects on the regeneration of the soul that each Church member seeks to attain." The Universal Family church considers that the decision whether to be vaccinated or not must be decided by the parents and says “God intends the health decisions of individuals should… be honored by all authorities.”

Pro vaccination argument 5:

Vaccination protects the “herd”. The community or herd need immunity which means a “critical portion” of the crowd or population must be vaccinated to provide immunity against contagious disease and is unlikely that there could be an outbreak of any such disease and the community is protected as a whole. Those who cannot be vaccinated like kids or adults due to the age or poor health, for example, undergoing chemotherapy or are immune-compromised, or possibly to prevent contraction of vaccine-preventable diseases. Many incidences from past have made grounds for this and support the reasoning.

Con vaccination argument 5:

Vaccination could contain some ingredients that people consider immoral and/or otherwise objectionable for some reason. The DTaP/IPV/Hib combination, HEP A/ HEP B combination, chicken pox and MMR are the ones which are cultivated in the cells from two fetuses aborted in the 1960s. The Catholic Church reported back on June 9, 2005, about the fact that vaccines are from “the cells from aborted fetuses indicated that there is a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines” to avoid the “evil” of actively or passively involved in anything that deals with voluntary abortion. Some vaccines for DTaP, Hep A, RV, HPV, Hib, IPV, MMR, flu and chickenpox are made using animal products like insect cells, pig gelatin, chicken eggs, Cocker Spaniel cells, bovine casein, and cells from African Green monkeys, making the vaccines conflict with the vegan philosophy or the vegetarian philosophy. There are vaccines which are produced using human albumin and a blood plasma protein which is also considered as problematic.


Pro vaccination argument 6:

Vaccines save money for children and parents as well as their time. Vaccines cost lesser in money and time. It also lessens the probability of infectious disease to effect or potential long-term disability and medical costs. For instance, kids under 5 with flu are contagious for over eight days and costs parents a lot of medical expense.  Children with rotavirus are infectious for up to 30 days. There was an incident in a Jan. 2008 outbreak of measles in San Diego, CA as a result, in 11 unvaccinated children catching measles and a subsequently net public-sector cost a lot of money due to emergency vaccination and outbreak response. Moreover, under the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA, or Obamacare) many vaccines are accessible to children and adults without a copay.

Facts and figures give us enough to the vaccination debate both sides - the pros and the cons. The question, “Should vaccines be mandatory?” is still a huge topic for debate.

There are much more to these vaccination debate pros and cons of vaccinations, which have come up over the years but the debate is still on! Look for more details on the history and background of the vaccination on this website.

Read more on: Know About Different Vaccines For Children  Myths and facts about vaccines

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