As a libertarian, I believe that every should have the freedom and rights to make their own decisions.
However, there’s a fine line between personal freedom and public well being.
For example, religious freedom: if you are a doctor and your religion doesn’t allow you to provide healthcare for divorced individuals, then I’m sorry, your religious freedom doesn’t allow you to let someone die of something that is almost completely preventable.
And that’s where vaccinations come in. Some may say, “It’s my body, I can do what I want with it,” but infecting someone else with a life-threatening virus is not a right.
As Ronald Bailey of Reason said, “Aside from the issue of child neglect, there would be no argument against allowing people to refuse government-required vaccination if they and their families were the only ones who suffered the consequences of their foolhardiness.”
The second argument against mandatory vaccination is that a child cannot consent to a vaccination. It’s the child’s body. But once again, refusing to vaccinate doesn’t only affect the child in question. Furthermore, children are carriers for almost every communicable disease we vaccinate against. When’s the last time someone in your residence hall had chicken pox?
Third argument: Vaccines cause autism.
National Public Radio (NPR) reported in 2011 that Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who “discovered” the link between autism and vaccinations, recently had his medical license revoked due to “serious professional misconduct” related to this work.
Furthermore, a study in the British Medical Journal reported some serious problems with the original study. The BMJ reported that it wasn’t just wrong, it was fraudulent.
The fourth argument is that some vaccines can be fatal. This can be dispelled with two sets of numbers. According to QUEST, a collaboration of six public broadcasters devoted to raising awareness of various topics, about one in 1 million vaccinations causes death. In contrast, between one and two in 1,000 cases of measles ends in death.
There is a fifth argument that says if you don’t vaccinate your kids, children who did get a vaccination don’t have to worry about it — they’re already vaccinated. This also is untrue.
While most vaccinations are incredibly effective, none of them are 100 percent. Even so, if someone who was vaccinated gets the disease, it is less severe and significantly less contagious. It’s almost impossible to catch a fatal case of measles when vaccinated.
Finally, there is the argument that the diseases we vaccinate against aren’t a problem anymore.
In 2000, the Center for Disease Control declared that measles had been eliminated. Why was it eliminated? Because people vaccinated. But, people have stopped, and thanks to that there have been outbreaks of measles in Orange County, Calif. and New York City. Two people in New York City contracted the disease simply by visiting their doctors.
Measles can’t survive very long outside of a person. The most surefire way to contract measles is to come into contact with someone who has it. Most unvaccinated people who come into contact with a measles-infected person will contract the illness.
Some may say “Well, I knew the risks when I chose not to vaccinate.” Well, what about the kid who was allergic to the vaccination? Your decision to not vaccinate your children could cause that child’s death, or at least horrifically alter his wellbeing.
Essentially, vaccinate your children. If the “anti-vaxxer” movement continues, people will die. They have already.
It may violate your “religious beliefs,” but you don’t speak for your child. You don’t want to get a flu shot? Fine. But don’t risk your child’s life on disproved pseudo-science. It’s child abuse, plain and simple.