Should parents be obliged to immunize their children against common childhood diseases? Or do individuals have the right to choose not to immunize their children?
Should parents be obliged to immunize their children
Modern medical science has made many life-threatening diseases totally preventable. However, individual fears about the long term side effects of such medications have not lessened in different parts of the world. So, government initiatives to totally eradicate such diseases do not become a complete success as many people refuse to take such vaccinations. In my opinion, the issue of whether we should force parents to immunize their children against common diseases is a social rather than a medical question. As we are free to choose food, drink and religion, medical treatment should not be different.
To begin with, the concerns about the harmful effects of such vaccinations are not satisfactorily addressed by governments or researches. No conclusive proof has been provided to show that they have no harmful effects. They are only interested in overall statistics, trends, and money-saving schemes which fail to take into consideration the individual’s concerns and rights. To illustrate, while immunization against diseases such as tetanus and whooping cough may be effective, little information is released about the harmful effects of the vaccinations.
Another argument is that like all other animals, the human body is designed to resist pathogens and to create its own natural immunity through contact with diseases. So such vaccination may weaken the natural immune system of a body. Thus, these vaccines may create a vulnerable society which is entirely dependent on immunization.
In addition, it is a matter of individual freedom as forcing to immunize violates individual rights. It is totally irrational to force people to use such medication the effects of which are uncertain. For some people, there are religious constraints and their needs must also be considered.
From the above analysis, it is evident that immunization programmes should be voluntary and the individual should have the right to decide whether or not to participate.