Should the government be able to force immunizations on all citizens, even though it may violate religious freedom? In my honest opinion, I say yes, the government should be able to force immunizations. The whooping cough and measles have nearly been eradicated, but are now making reappearances due to parents denying vaccinations for their children.
As stated in the article “A Review of Religion and Vaccinations” several religions are against vaccinations such as Islam, Amish, Judaism, Jehovah’s Witness, etc. Based off the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment, a citizen may worship any religion of choice and the government may not intervene. But, what happens when this practice of religion could cause harm to the public?
“Before measles vaccine, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age. Each year in the United States about 450-500 people died because of measles, 48,000 were hospitalized, 7,000 had seizures, and about 1,000 suffered permanent brain damage or deafness,” stated in “Measles ( Rubeola)”. These two sentences are proof enough of why we need vaccinations implemented, we no longer live in the dark ages and we now have a vaccination that is able to prevent the disease from infecting a host. The measles are a highly infectious virus and can survive in airspace for over two hours, now imagine a crowded classroom of young children who touch about anything and just one of them are infected. Measles are so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of people around said person who are not immune will be infected.
Today, when going to school you must show a proof of a whooping cough vaccination, or else you will not be allowed to attend that institution. The whooping cough, though not as lethal as the measles, is still a highly infectious disease that can cause harm to a host. “Deaths associated with whooping cough are rare but most commonly occur in infants. That’s why it’s so important for pregnant women — and other people who will have close contact with an infant — to be vaccinated against whooping cough,” as stated in “Whooping Cough”. Though the severity/lethality of the whooping cough is less than the measles virus, those who are infected can experience bruised or broken ribs, abdominal hernias, or broken blood vessels in the skin or eyes. All of these effects can lead to a lofty stay in the hospital or even finding one self on the operating table.
Then after watching this video, Hank Green describes the science behind anti-vaccinations. He first starts the video speaking of Autism and how it is scientifically impossible for a child to inherit Autism from a vaccination, and that we only believe what appeals to us. Hank then goes into depth about different personal bias, and how our bias affects the way we may look at a problem, like a person with a Naturalness Bias believes that anything man-made will cause more harm than nature taking its own course. People who are having an issue rely on the internet to provide answers and once they find something appealing to their bias, they will most likely agree with the many others who are having a similar problem. He then states how no one has really experienced these dangerous diseases because of the reliability of vaccinations, and the only reason people are arguing over the effectivity of vaccinations is because of their success rate.
So to wrap this blog up, my final thought is still the same as it was in the first paragraph. The government should be able to enforce vaccinations for highly infectious and lethal viruses that may cause harm to children and adults. Though some religions may be against the idea of mainstream medicine, it is still important when considering those around you. Your rights of religious freedom should not impede on the public rights to protect their children and themselves. So please, parents vaccinate your children.