Debate to Vaccinate Escalates
The recent measles outbreak in the United States has once again sparked the debate over whether or not vaccinations should be mandatory. The debate itself stems from misinformation on the benefits of vaccines. According to Huffington Post, vaccines are likened to safety belts: they are mandatory to protect lives, not to take away personal freedoms. Vaccinations too should be mandatory for the overall well being of the population and to stop the spread of sickness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most states offer exemptions from vaccination based on religious grounds, personal beliefs and medical reasons. However, having any number of the population unvaccinated against something like measles can have harmful effects on herd immunity, which is necessary for the safety of citizens.
Herd immunity refers to the amount of a population that is immunized against harmful illnesses. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, one of the benefits of herd immunity is that those who are unable to be vaccinated or those with weak immune systems, such as children and pregnant women, have some protection against illness.
Measles can be brought over by unvaccinated immigrants and spread through the unvaccinated population. Herd immunity makes it harder for such a thing to spread and can keep cases isolated to a certain area.
Despite possible complications, the benefits of vaccination, for both the individual and the entire group, far outweigh any potential effects. People are not only responsible for their personal safety. Excluding people who are medically unable to receive them, vaccinations should be mandatory in all fifty states of the U.S.