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Briana Kerr
English 112
Argumentative Essay
February 28, 2016
To Vaccinate or to Not Vaccinate That is the Question
Thirty-four percent of parents delay or refuse to vaccinate their children (Smith). Parents
question the safety and effectiveness of vaccines which causes hesitation. Even though vaccines
were discovered in the 1800s, people still have doubts and uncertainties that make the decision of
vaccinating their children difficult. People lack the education of why and how vaccines save
lives. Educating new parents on vaccines could show them what they need to know. Vaccinations
have become a revolutionary medical procedure that should be taken advantage of by everyone.
Although some believe vaccines do more harm than good, in actuality, vaccines save time and
money, do not cause autism, and go through intensive testing to meet safety measures; vaccines
can even protect future generations and eradicate serious illnesses.
Vaccines can cost a large amount of money to produce and administer; a single vaccine can
even cost up to half a billion dollars. The rising cost contributes to the rising unpopularity
(Wilson). This is not to say that physically receiving the vaccine is costly, but rather the actual
production can be expensive. Many parents fear that if the price of vaccines keeps going up, it
will affect other prices like insurance costs and doctor visits. In other words, parents refuse or
delay vaccinations because they feel the overall cost of producing, administering, and
maintaining vaccines is too much.
Despite what seems to look like an outrageous cost, in the long run vaccines will save
time and money for families. Vaccine critics are right that vaccines are costly to manufacture, but
they seem on more dubious ground when they claim that the cost of vaccines is solely preventing
them from giving their children the vaccines. Local healthcare providers claim that vaccinations
are usually covered by insurance, and many places offer certain vaccines for free (Missouri).
The inability to pay should not be a factor in delaying or rejecting a vaccine for a child. A

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vaccine preventable disease can put a child out of school and a parent out of work to care for the
child for weeks at a time. A disease can put financial stress on a family due to lost time at work,
medical bills, or long term disability care. A serious illness, which could have been prevented by
a vaccine, can change the life of a family forever. In 2004, the Lastinger family found this
unthinkable idea to be their reality. The Lastingers had never thought of vaccines as that serious.
Although they gave their three year old daughter Emily all of the required vaccines, they never
thought of the seasonal vaccines like for the flu. Their daughter had fallen ill to what seemed like
strep throat, after a trip to the doctor, Influenza was confirmed. The family was told to monitor
Emily and that she would soon recover. However, after they laid her down for a nap, they
returned to the room shortly after to find a lifeless child on the bed. After losing Emily to a
vaccine preventable illness, the parents now stress the importance of vaccines (The). I agree
that even seasonal vaccines should be used to fully benefit the population, a point that needs
emphasizing since so many people believe that their children are protected because others are
For a while, vaccinations received serious criticism that they caused autism. A British
physician, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, published evidence that linked vaccinations to autism. His
research concluded:
The measles virus in the diseased intestine of autistic children
is from the vaccine (11). Children with regressive autism appear to have
an abnormal immune response to measles virus (1 o These findings are entirely
consistent with parental reports that their normally developing child regressed
into autism following exposure to MMR vaccine (1,11). Confirmation of
intestinal findings Other researchers in the US have confirmed the presence of
intestinal inflammation in children with regressive autism (3a & see testimony of

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Dr A. Krigsman MD) and, independently, the link with measles virus in children
who were given the MMR vaccine. (Congressional)
In other words, Dr. Wakefield was saying children with autism who were given the measles
vaccine often had uncharacteristic reactions to the measles virus. His research proved that
vaccines were harmful to children. He brought solid evidence to parents, which made the parents
feel as if they did not need to vaccinate their children. Indeed it is highly likely that Dr.
Wakefields research sparked the continual idea that vaccines cause autism.
Despite the previous research on autism and vaccinations, the evidence never gained
enormous support by other researchers and doctors.Vaccine critics are mistaken because they
overlook the fact that Dr. Wakefields research has lost its credibility. Current research does not
show any connection between autism and vaccines. Attempts to replicate his study failed, and no
new evidence was brought to the public. Wakefields study was investigated and many faults and
biases were found like: working with a lawyer for a family to find proof that a vaccine caused
autism and recruiting the participants of the study (Hall). His work slowly unraveled piece by
piece, and vaccinations were brought the justice they deserved. This is not to say that his work
was not once accepted, but that further research disproves his hypothesis.
Often, people worry about the safety of vaccines. People hesitate to vaccinate their
children because they fear that the vaccine contains harmful material and will make their child
even sicker than the disease itself. Vaccines are thought to have intense side effects, and people
do not want their children to suffer through that. However, vaccine critics contradict themselves.
On the one hand they argue that vaccines have terrible side effects and do not want their children
to experience that. On the other hand, they also say they want to protect their children in any way
possible. Contrary to what vaccine critics argue, vaccines are put through intensive testing to
ensure the quality and safety of the vaccine. The testing is thorough, and scientists, doctors and
health care professionals all carefully test and study the vaccines before they are administered

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(Missouri). Although vaccines strive to be effective, the safety of the vaccine is number one on
the priority list.
Vaccinations can protect the future generations. As researchers Colgrove and Bayer state
in their research, Even small numbers of unvaccinated children can lead to outbreaks of
infectious disease. In other words, Colgrove and Bayer believe that vaccinating all children will
prevent serious outbreaks of a number of diseases. As vaccines have improved over time, they
have reduced numbers drastically and even eradicated some of the more serious illnesses.
Usually, once a disease is eradicated, the vaccine does not have to be given out any longer. The
small pox vaccine is no longer given because the disease was wiped out by the vaccine (Why).
I agree that all children need to be vaccinated, a point that needs emphasizing since so many
people believe that as long as other children receive their vaccines, their children will be fine
without them. The more vaccinations that are given, the higher the chance that more severe
diseases, like polio and meningitis, will no longer harm or kill people.
One third of parents hesitate or completely refuse to vaccinate their children because of
common misunderstandings. Over the years, parents have had concerns about vaccines which
cause them to delay or refuse to vaccinate their children. The research and reports that bash
vaccines bring safety and effectiveness into concern. However, people are unaware of the
benefits that vaccines bring to them and the harm not vaccinating can do to someone. In order to
bring light to vaccines, education is needed. Parents need to understand the importance of
vaccinations in order to ensure that misconceptions do not pollute their thoughts. Although
people still question how well vaccines really work and if they harm children, vaccines do more
good than harm. Vaccines should be taken advantage of because of the benefits they bring to the
world as a whole.

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Works Cited
Colgrove, James, and Ronald Bayer. "Could It Happen Here? Vaccine Risk Controversies
And The Specter Of Derailment." Health Affairs3(2005):729. eLibrary. Web. 28 Feb.
Federal Document Clearing House, , 19 Jun. 2002. eLibrary. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.
Hall, Harriet. "Vaccines and Autism." Skeptic 2(2009):26. eLibrary. Web. 02 Mar. 2016.
"Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services." Home. Missouri Department of Health,
n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.
Smith, Philip J., Sharon G. Humiston, Edgar K. Marcuse, Zhen Zhao, Christina G. Dorell,
Cynthia Howes, and Beth Hibbs. "Parental Delay or Refusal of Vaccine Doses,
Childhood Vaccination Coverage at 24 Months of Age, and the Health Belief
Model."Public Health Reports. Association of Schools of Public Health, 2011. Web. 28
Feb. 2016.
"The Flu Can Kill Healthy Children: A True Story." Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Jan. 2016. Web. 10 Mar.
"Why Immunize?" Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, 23 Sept. 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.

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Wilson, Jennifer Fisher. "The vaccine crossroads." Annals of Internal Medicine

10(2003):857. eLibrary. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.