Should children who are not vaccinated be allowed to attend school?
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Explain the second problem (economic, social, political, environmental, complexity, inequity,
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Explain the third problem (economic, social, political, environmental, complexity, inequity, ethical/moral,
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Should unvaccinated children be permitted to attend school ?
Vaccination is one of the most effective public health interventions when it comes to preventing,
protecting and promoting public health. World Health organization estimates that 3 million
children are saved from disease preventable diseases globally every year. Center for Disease
prevention and Control (CDC) approximates that vaccine preventable illnesses have decreased
by 95% in the last three decades. Vaccination is important because it has eliminated fatal
diseases such as measles, polio, pertussis and small pox. Children are the most vulnerable to
diseases because their immune system is not fully developed. Most vaccines are effective when
given to children (Song, Silva & Jenkins-Smith, 2014).
However, a large proportion of children in U.S. fail to be vaccinated because their parents will
not allow them to be vaccinated. Every state in U.S. grants vaccine exemptions based on
personal, religious and philosophical belief. The implications of these exemptions are a huge
burden to the society because they interfere with herd immunity. Consequently, there is
increased resurgence of disease outbreaks that were once eliminated such as the pertussis
outbreak in various states in 2010 (Matheny Antommaria, 2013).
Therefore, strict measures should be applied so that to coerce the parents into vaccinating their
children. This includes restricting unvaccinated children from attending public schools or other
institutional facilities. These children are more susceptible to vaccine preventable pathogens and
could be easily be targeted by the pathogens to become their reservoir. Permitting them interact
with other vaccinated children puts them at higher risks of getting infected. There is no reason to
avoid vaccination if the child health is not compromised (Wang Et al., 2014). Children must be
vaccinated because it provides safety and promotes health by protecting children from deadly
childhood diseases such as measles, rubella and chicken pox. Every parent is responsible for
their child’s health by protecting them from vaccine preventable diseases.
Description of the problems
The U.S. government mandates the parents to make all medical decisions for their children.
While this move is good for most of the health conditions, it does not give justice when it comes
to vaccination. Many parents have myriad reasons as to why their children should not be
vaccinated. Some claim safety concerns citing the misinformed reports from the media (internet)
and anti-vaccine groups. Others exempt their children from vaccination on philosophical,
cultural and religious grounds. Despite the fact that every American have freedom and rights of
autonomy, allowing parents to continue making decisions on vaccination for their children puts
the public health at risk (Buttenheim, Jones & Baras, 2012). If the vaccinations rates are high,
every person in the nation is protected as the vaccine preventable diseases such as polio, measles,
and small pox are eliminated. This introduces the concept of herd immunity; thereby protecting
the most vulnerable children in the society that would not be vaccinated due to medical reasons
and the infants. However, herd immunity only work if the entire herd joins in, when some
proportion avoids vaccination, the immunity breaks down, making people become even more
vulnerable. In fact, the new resurgence of preventable diseases is due to the selfish decisions of
these parents (Yang & Debold, 2014).
School bureaucrat’s demand parents must bring copy of the immunization record when enrolling
their children in public school. This makes it easy for them to monitor and to ensure that the
children are vaccinated. The state determines the immunization program. This indicates that the
scope of vaccination program lies on the entire society including the physician, parents,
community leaders, bureaucrats and children. These stakeholders should work collaboratively
into ensuring that everybody acknowledges the importance of vaccination. The stake holders
should address the health risks associated with vaccination since it is the primary reasons for
vaccine exemptions by most parents (Matheny Antommaria, 2013). If the effectiveness and
safety of the vaccine is guaranteed, the percentage of parents who object vaccination could
reduce considerably. The solution to this issue is for the state government to eliminate these
exemptions and presumably make it mandatory for every child to get vaccinated. This is because
while everyone is enjoying the benefits provided by the vaccines, deadly pathogens will still
exist in the society as long as the selfish decisions exists; and the health risks are shared
equitably (Orenstein & Yang, 2015).
Arguably, anti-vaccine group state that the increased environmental degradation and pollution
considerably reduce vaccine efficacy. They claim that the perflourinated compounds inhaled by
mothers during pregnancy and by the child after pregnancy interact with the vaccine compounds,
resulting to negative reaction. It has also been suggested that vaccinated individuals are
pathogens carriers. They are asymptomatic and could still potentially spread the diseases. Others
claim that vaccines promote mutation of pathogens to enhance their strains to dominate and
cause diseases. These arguments are not evidenced in research, and further studies are required to
weight their objectivity (Matheny Antommaria, 2013).
For decades, vaccination has facilitated the eliminations of childhood diseases. The increased
vaccination exemptions put the public health into more risks putting into consideration that the
world today is a global village. There is increased movement of people and animals from place
to place, and the people or the animals could potentially carry pathogens from one region to the
other. Additionally, there are dozens of new viruses due to mutation processes, which are
potential threat to the society. No vaccine is brought to the market until its safety and
effectiveness is guaranteed (Orenstein & Yang, 2015). Researchers and health professionals
ensure that the vaccine produced is extremely safe. The mild risks associated with the vaccines
are also indicated, and when the risks are weighed, the trauma associated with vaccination cannot
be compared to the impact of health on the unvaccinated children who contracts the disease.
Vaccination is cost effective. Most of the vaccination programs are fully funded by the state or
federal government. The cost of unvaccinated child in contracting disease includes medication
costs, the reduced productivity costs as the parents take leave to take care of their children and
the worse scenario is if the infection could lead to long-term disability. This may affect the
economic and political stability of the state, especially if the pathogen spread is accelerating at a
faster rate than the state’s capacity to curb the infection. The temporal psychological
disturbances experienced by the child’s family could lead to distress. States with such citizens
could potentially create breeding grounds for vices such as terrorism (Buttenheim, Jones &
The research plan for this study is to navigate credible sources such as EBSCOhost, CIHANL,
NCBI, COCHRANE and PUBMED that has information concerning vaccines, their safety,
effectiveness and risks. The article will research on the role of government, particularly on state
vaccine programs to familiarize with the recommended vaccines, type, and the age it should be
administered. The paper aims to identify the reason why most parents rejects vaccination and if it
is feasible to make it mandatory for childhood vaccination.
Vaccines improve the public health considerably. On the other hand, exemptions increase the
risks of infection, and are potential threat to the entire community especially the elderly, the
immuno-deficient persons and infants. Therefore, it is important to address all the barriers to
childhood vaccination by focusing on the overuse of parental nonmedical reasons for vaccine
exemptions for their children; with the aim of reducing the economic burden experienced by
public health attributable to vaccine preventable diseases.
Buttenheim, A., Jones, M., & Baras, Y. (2012). Exposure of California Kindergartners to
Students With Personal Belief Exemptions From Mandated School Entry Vaccinations. Am
J Public Health, 102(8), e59-e67.