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

States Should Eliminate Personal and Religious Exemptions to Required School Vaccinations



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