Should vaccines be mandated?


Fact Box

  • Dubbed the 'father of vaccination,' 18th-century physician Edward Jenner created the first vaccination in history by testing his hypothesis that 'direct inoculation of a person with the much milder and less deadly cowpox would render that person immune to smallpox.' 
  • The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, was set up in the US in 1990 and, as of August 2022, has over 2 million reports of vaccine adverse events. However, as the HHS admits, there is a phenomenon of 'underreporting' these adverse events. 
  • The childhood vaccine schedule recommended by the CDC has increased from 12 shots in 1986 to 54 shots in 2019. 
  • In 1986, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which exempted vaccine manufacturers from liability for vaccine injuries.

Suzanne (No)

It's wrong to remove an individual's right to choose what is injected into their body and their children's bodies--especially when there are so many unanswered questions around vaccine safety and the efficacy of vaccine immunity. Further, as evidenced by the recent COVID mRNA vaccines, which don't stop transmission or infection but do impart known harmful risks and sometimes deadly side effects to its recipients, the idea of making ANY medical procedure mandatory has significant moral implications. 

Most notably, as immunologist Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD, points out, 'vaccine immunity does not equal life-long immunity acquired after natural exposure,' as so-called 'herd immunity' is unachievable through artificially induced vaccinated communities. 

The world has witnessed this firsthand with the advent of COVID viruses shaping the 2020s. As an article in The Lancet explains, 'researchers in California observed no major differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in terms of SARS-CoV-2 viral loads.' 'Breakthrough infections' amongst COVID-vaccinated populations demonstrate the reality of how outbreaks still frequently occur in fully vaccinated communities. Clearly, COVID-vaccinated individuals do not stop the transmission of the disease to others. 

But, aside from the COVID debate, medical decisions are personal and especially so with vaccines, which are not safe for everyone at all times. There are neurological, autoimmune, and fatal risks involved with vaccination, as every person possesses a unique genetic predisposition that can incur adverse side effects (injuries). Moreover, the entire vaccine schedule as it is today has not been tested for safety regarding the combined administration of the doses. 

Vaccine-hesitant populations have existed for as long as there have been vaccination programs, and they should not be demonized for wanting to protect their own bodies and not partake in ineffective, dangerous treatments.

Andrew (Yes)

While it’s true that vaccines do protect individuals, their importance truly lies in their ability to protect societies. An individual’s right to healthcare decision-making ends where it can harm others. Choosing to be unvaccinated puts other people in the community in danger as unvaccinated individuals can spread disease. According to researchers at the Imperial College London, the first year of COVID-19 vaccination saved nearly 20 million lives, not to mention the misery and suffering prevented by reducing levels of illness. When we compare these incredible savings of lives with the very rare and typically mild side effects of the COVID vaccine, the value of vaccination becomes crystal clear.

Vaccines should be mandatory because even small increases in unvaccinated individuals can result in once nearly eradicated diseases making comebacks. This has been seen with polio cases in 2022, thanks to vaccine hesitancy. Likewise, measles, once considered eradicated, had over 1,200 cases in 2019 due to unvaccinated individuals spreading the disease. 

Vaccines are safe. Vaccination has come a long way since its inception, and scientists are constantly working toward more effective and even safer models. Vaccines have been around for hundreds of years and, through constant improvement, have been able to eradicate diseases such as polio in the United States. Vaccines have an excellent safety track record, and any irregularities in the United States are reported using the VAERS system, which allows scientists and other medical professionals to monitor potential problems. Also, vaccines are typically given by one’s doctor, who can advise against any risk factors and give advice on any possible side effects. The massive benefits of vaccination programs far outweigh the few rare complications, and public policy officials are right to make them mandatory.

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