Health Immunizing Your Baby Protecting or Harming Research Paper

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Immunizing Your Baby, Protecting or Harming?

Positives for Vaccinations

Recommended and Minimum Ages for Early Childhood Vaccinations

Negatives for Vaccinations

Ethical Issues

Vaccines against diphtheria, polio, pertussis, measles, mumps and rubella, hepatitis B and chicken pox, have given humans powerful immune guards to ward off unwelcome disease and sickness. Because of this the CDC works closely with public health agencies and private partners in order to improve and sustain immunization coverage and to monitor the safety of vaccines so that public health can be maintained and expanded in the future. Despite the good that vaccines appear to do there is a debate stirring in regards to the safety of vaccines and whether or not they are link to disorders such as autism. There are some studies that appear to link childhood vaccinations to autism but the evidence is very weak at best. But because of these types of studies there are a number of parents rethinking vaccinating their children.


Vaccines against diphtheria, polio, pertussis, measles, mumps and rubella, and more recent additions of hepatitis B and chicken pox, have given humans powerful immune guards to ward off unwelcome sickness. And thanks to state laws that require vaccinations for kids enrolling in kindergarten, the U.S. presently enjoys the highest immunization rate ever at 77%. Yet bubbling beneath these national numbers is the question about vaccine safety. Driven by claims that vaccinations can be associated with autism, increasing number of parents are raising questions about whether vaccines are in fact harmful to children, instead of helpful (Park, 2008).

Positives for Vaccinations

For many years before the development of vaccines, it was known that after recovery from certain diseases some people would not become infected when exposed to it again. This course by which a person is protected from certain diseases after natural infection is termed active immunity. The person is protected since the immune system remembers the past infection and reacts quickly when it comes across the issue again. Yet, for diseases that can be life-threatening, attaining immunity in this way entails running the risk of death upon the first encounter. Even for non-life-threatening diseases, a lot of infections carry a risk of grave complications after recovery and so it would be preferable to obtain immunity without taking unwarranted risks. Active immunity by way of vaccination presents a much safer alternative (Childhood Vaccinations: Understanding Vaccines, 2006).

The CDC works closely with public health agencies and private partners in order to improve and sustain immunization coverage and to monitor the safety of vaccines so that public health can be maintained and expanded in the future. Table 1 lists the current vaccination schedule for early childhood vaccinations.

Table 1 -- Recommended and Minimum Ages for Early Childhood Vaccinations

A - Vaccination Dose

B - Recommended Age for Routine Administration

C - Minimum Acceptable Age

D - Minimum Acceptable Interval


Hepatitis B

1 0-2 months Birth

2 1-4 months 4 weeks

3 6-18 months 6 months 8 weeks

DTP (d)

1 2 months 6 weeks

2 4 months 10 weeks 4 weeks

3 6 months 14 weeks 4 weeks

4 15-18 months 12 months 4 months

Haemophilus influenzae type b

1 2 months 6 weeks

2 4 months 10 weeks 4 weeks

3(e) 6 months 14 weeks 4 weeks

4 12-15 months 12 months 8 weeks


1 2 months 6 weeks

2 4 months 10 weeks 4 weeks

3 6-18 months 14 weeks 4 weeks


1 12-15 months 12 months


1 12-18 months 12 months

(a) Approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the American Academy of Paediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

(b) Doses given within 4 days before the minimum age for all vaccines are considered acceptable.

(c) Minimum acceptable interval since previous dose in the series. Doses given within 4 days before the minimum interval are considered acceptable.

(d) Diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular or whole-cell pertussis vaccine.

(e) In most cases, 4 doses of Hib are recommended; however, the 6-month dose is not needed if haemophilus b conjugate (PRP-OMP) (PedvaxHIB or ComVax [Merck]) is used for the 2- and 4-month doses.

Source: Carolyn Drews-Botsch, et al. (2005)

Negatives for Vaccinations

More than any other matter, the question of autism has stirred the battle over vaccines. Since the 1980's, the quantity of vaccinations that children get has doubled, and in that same time, autism diagnoses have tripled. In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist of London's Royal Free Hospital published a paper in the journal the Lancet in which he stated the results of a study that he did. The study consisted of a dozen young patients who were suffering from both autism-like developmental disorders and intestinal symptoms that included inflammation, pain and bloating. Eight of the kids started showing signs of autism days after getting the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella. While Wakefield and his co-researchers were cautious not to propose that these cases established a link between vaccines and autism, they did imply, that exposure to the measles virus could be a causal factor to the children's autism. Wakefield later went on to conjecture that virus from the vaccine led to swelling in the abdomen that affected the brain growth of the children (Park, 2008).

This study among others has lead parents to begin to question whether they should immunize their children or not. There are many people who feel that the immunizations do more harm than they do good. These same people believe that the diseases for which vaccinations are given are not something that they have to worry about. They believe that these issues have been gone for so long that there would be no chance of them coming back in full force. This might be true, but on the other hand it might not be true.

Ethical Issues

Vaccinations have also long been the subject of various ethical controversies. The main ethical debates related to vaccine regulation, development, and use generally revolve around (1) mandates, (2) research and testing, (3) informed consent, and (4) access gaps. Ethical debates and objections to school and other mandates have come about because some people and communities disagree with the mandates, or have religious or philosophical viewpoints that conflict with vaccination. For instance, in an effort to protect the most number of people, public health vaccine regulations may breach upon individual autonomy and liberty. Tension results when people want to exercise their right to guard themselves or their children by refusing vaccination, if they do not accept existing medical or safety confirmation, or if their ideological beliefs do not sustain vaccination (Ethical Issues and Vaccines, 2011).

Ethical deliberations also enfold the research and testing of vaccines, including discussions about vaccine progress, and study design, population, and trial location.

To be licensed, vaccines go through a lot of years of research, and must pass thorough safety and efficacy principles. The vaccine development and research process includes varied experts from many scientific and social areas, including public health, epidemiology, immunology, and statistics, and from pharmaceutical companies. These stakeholders often have conflicting priorities and motives, which adds to a variety of ethical discussions (Ethical Issues and Vaccines, 2011).

There are also ethical debates in regards to vaccine implementation and delivery, such as those relating to informed consent. Even though federal guidelines do not necessitate consent before vaccination, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 requires that doctors give vaccine recipients, or their parents or legal representatives, a Vaccine Information Statement (VIS). The VIS provides essential information about vaccine risks and benefits and is intended to supply the information a patient or parent needs to make a knowledgeable decision. A lot of vaccine-related ethical debates center on the substantiation that access to vaccination depends to some degree on socioeconomic and…[continue]

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