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Topics Homepage> States Should Eliminate Personal and Religious Exemptions to Required School Vaccinations

States Should Eliminate Personal and Religious Exemptions to Required School Vaccinations

PRO (3 assertions)


1) Did you know that the U.S. Vaccine Compensation Program has paid over $1.2 billion for damages due to vaccines?

2) Polio vaccination is unnecessary because there hasn't been a case of wild polio in the United States in 20 years. These diseases are so rare that it's highly unlikely that anyone would contract them anymore.

1. Assertion: Allowing exemptions threatens the health of others

Evidence: After a scare about possible side effects of the MMR jab, in 2008 there was a drop in voluntary vaccinations in a part of London. In that part of London only 64.3 % of children were vaccine and in that year the district accounted one third of all south-east London measles cases. Unless there is a 95 % vaccination, there is a great threat to public health of infection outbreaks. It is therefore the role of the state to understand these issues and possible treats and provide a duty of protection and care, in this case, in the form of immunization.

Another example of the need to protect is also given by the example of voluntary vaccination against the flu, because of its impacts on the whole population is given by Pediatric studies: in several studies, results indicated that a 100% vaccination rate among health care personnel in acute care settings triggered a 43% decline in risk of influenza among patients. This decrease appeared even higher - 60% - among nursing home patients.

2. Assertion: Vaccinations are successful in preventing disease. Making them mandatory works towards this goal.

Evidence:Smallpox, which had killed two million people per year until the late 1960s, was wiped out by 1979 after a massive worldwide immunization campaign. The number of polio cases fell from over 300,000 per year in the 1980s to just 2,000 in 2002. Two-thirds of developing countries have eradicated neonatal tetanus. Since the launch of the World Health Organization's Expanded Program on Immunization in 1974, the number of reported measles deaths has dropped from 6 million to less than 1 million per year. Whooping cough cases have fallen from 3 million per year to less than a quarter of a million. According to researchers at the Pediatric Academic Society, childhood vaccinations in the US prevent about 10.5 million cases of infectious illness and 33,000 deaths per year.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most childhood vaccines are 90-99% effective in preventing disease.

Two studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that children who exempted from vaccination requirements were more than 35 times more likely to contract measles and nearly 6 times more likely to contract pertussis, compared to vaccinated children. This research also showed that communities with lower rates of immunization had higher rates of infection among vaccinated children than those with higher vaccination rates. Similar correlations between exemption rates and incidence of vaccine-preventable disease has been found in both the United Kingdom and Japan.

In 1991 an outbreak of measles in an unvaccinated group of children in Philadelphia caused seven deaths.

In Boulder, Colorado, fear over possible side effects of the whooping cough vaccine led many parents to refuse vaccination for their children, causing Boulder to have the lowest school-wide vaccination rate in Colorado for whooping cough and one of the highest rates of whooping cough in the US as of 2002.

3. Assertion: Vaccinations are cost-effective. Mandatory vaccinations would improve this.

Evidence: Commonly-used vaccines are a cost-effective and preventive way of promoting health, compared to the treatment of acute or chronic disease. In the U.S. during the year 2001, routine childhood immunizations against seven diseases were estimated to save over $40 billion per birth-year cohort in overall social costs including $10 billion in direct health costs, and the societal benefit-cost ratio for these vaccinations was estimated to be 16.5 billion.

According to an extensive cost-benefit analysis by the CDC, every dollar spent on immunization saves $6.30 in direct medical costs, with an aggregate savings of $10.5 billion.

Source: Center for Disease Control

CON (3 assertions)

1) Did you know that for every $1 spent on the Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccination, $27 are saved?
2) Diphtheria cases have declined from 80,000 in 1975 to less than 10,000 today.

School -- All public schools, grades k-12

1. Assertion: It is a violation of the Constitution to force children to get vaccinations.

Reasoning/Evidence: Governments should not have the right to intervene in the health decisions parents make for their children. The National Health Service states: You must give your consent before you receive any type of medical treatment, from a simple blood test to deciding to donate your organs after your death. If you refuse a treatment, your decision must be respected.” This should apply to vaccinations too. Forcing such parents to vaccinate their children would violate the 1st Amendment, which guarantees citizens the right to the free exercise of their religion. States have the obligation to respect individual freedom.

2. Assertion: There are legitimate health concerns for not taking vaccines.

Evidence: Robert Fletcher was given the MMR vaccine as a child, and his mother stated, The seizure occurred ten days after the vaccination. Robert is severely disabled as a result of vaccination. Robert is nearly 19 but mentally he is like a 14-month-old toddler. He can't stand unaided and he is doubly incontinent. We chop up his food and have to anticipate all his needs. He is prone to various illnesses and last week suffered around 40 severe epileptic seizures.

Hepatitis B immunization is not worthwhile - the disease does not even affect children (less than 1% of all reported victims are under the age of 15) yet it carries some risk of adverse effects up to and including death. For less dangerous diseases such as measles and chicken pox, natural immunity is preferable because it is 100% effective. Vaccines contain known toxins and carcinogens such as aluminum and thimerosal. Side effects of the MMR vaccination are similar to the disease and can be severe. Varicella side effects are similar to the disease; naturally acquired disease provides lifetime immunity, whereas vaccination requires boosters. Consequently, vaccinations should not be mandatory. The government can't force individuals to threaten their own health.

3. Assertion: Vaccinations have wasted money.

Evidence: As the Liberty Counsel points out, the federal government actually pays families of vaccine-killed or disabled children nearly $100 million dollars each year and has done so since 1986, through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Children with auto-immune diseases are at greater risk for serious side effects from vaccination and should be able to be exempted from participating.
Since the first Vaccine Injury Compensation claims were made in 1989, 2,999 compensation payments have been made, $2,334,879,190.38 disbursed to petitioners and $91,522,855.80 paid to cover attorney's fees and other legal costs. To date, 9,445 claims have been dismissed. Of those, 3,615 claimants were paid $49,646,659.05 to cover attorney's fees and other legal costs. Making vaccinations mandatory would be a huge waste of money.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration