The Anti-Vaxxer Epidemic: Why Vaccination Should Be Mandatory

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In 1796, Edward Jenner created the first vaccine and successfully vaccinated a teenage boy using a primitive smallpox vaccine. The boy then later was seen to be immune to smallpox. For over 200 years, childhood vaccinations became the norm in most societies, until Andrew Wakefield published a series of articles which stated that, “the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine may predispose to behavioral regression and pervasive developmental disorder in children.” (Sathyanarayana Rao and Andrade 95) Many studies that all counteracted Wakefield’s articles appeared soon after.

Wakefield and his team had committed scientific misrepresentation and used non-scientific means and illegal private funding from biased funders. The article has since been retracted by both the team and the journal it was published in and all editors were found guilty of fraud. In the time since the Wakefield’s paper was originally published, the anti-vaccination epidemic has grown in a drastic way. “Outbreaks of measles, polio, pertussis, and rubella have been documented in areas with high rates of unvaccinated children,causing concern that certain diseases believed to have been stamped out are making a comeback, which places not only the unvaccinated at risk, but also those not fully vaccinated and a certain percentage of those vaccinated who do not gain full immunity” (Merino 2).

Parents who chose not to vaccinate their children don’t only give their children a chance to be injured from easily preventable diseases, but they compromise the general public’s health too, for both those who are immunized but do not have full immunity and those who have not been immunized but are healthy. The sheer amount of dangerous and rare disease spread since the false report was published has not faltered, which means that to avoid a health crisis, the government needs to mandate vaccines that immunize against dangerous diseases and eradicate non-medical exemptions.


Although new standards for conducting allergy checks and researching for better vaccines also need to put in place, the most common reason for parents choosing not to vaccinate their children, the association with autism, is easily disproved. The onset of autism often coincides with when children receive their first immunizations, often when a toddler receives his/her first MMR, or mumps, measles, rubella vaccine, dosage at around 12-14 months. According to David Haugen and Susan Musser, ‘Vaccines not only protect the child being vaccinated but also the general community and the most vulnerable individuals within the community.”

Vaccines cannot effectively and efficiently do their intended purpose without everyone’s participation. Vaccines cause “herd immunity” which can easily and effectively decimate almost any disease as long as everyone is vaccinated. One of herd immunity is how the smallpox vaccine was distributed to populations across the globe. We could extinguish many diseases that often only affect third-world countries. Laws often fall under this same category, with mandatory procedures to help benefit society.

Our society often has set rules that are specifically made to benefit it. Such examples could be drunk driving laws, seatbelt laws, mandatory school attendance, restricted environmental pollution, and other behavior restrictions that have been set in place. Laws have often been shown to benefit society. These laws/rules that have been required often favor the societal benefit over a personal choice. However, immunization isn’t mandated enough as it should be. Many anti-vaxxers overlook the fact that their personal choice is far less important than preventing a health epidemic.

Shouldn’t vaccines fall under that same category too? According to Diane Meyer, “Vaccine refusal has been associated with numerous infectious disease cases and outbreaks in the United States, among them that rising incidence of pertussis, which includes successive epidemics with an epidemiology similar to those in the pre-vaccine era

But recent large outbreaks of pertussis in Arizona in 1988, California in 2010 and 2014, Washington in 2012, and Oregon in 2012 included a large number of children who were unvaccinated or undervaccinated (i.e., those who have received fewer than the recommended dose of vaccine)… It is paramount that parents adhere to CDC’s recommended schedule for vaccinations to protect all children, including those who are unable to receive vaccinations (e.g., due to allergies or compromised immune systems) and thus must rely on herd immunity for protection.” (Meyer 3) Choosing not to vaccinate your children is not a matter of parental rights. It’s a matter of the public’s health and preventing illness.


There are a plethora of solutions that could destroy any doubt about vaccines. One of the main problems, however, are the extremely high expectations that some people feel that in order to vaccinate your children, vaccines need to be 100% safe. This is impossible to achieve because nothing on Earth is 100% safe, including any medicine. When some vaccine-hesitant/ anti-vaxxer parents research, they unknowingly (or sometimes knowingly) pick out information that coincides with previous bias towards vaccination.

If a vaccine hesitant or anti vaxxer parent doesn’t vaccinate their children because of the , “In a normal day, we breathe, eat or drink 30-50 mg of aluminum, more than 20 times the maximum allowed dose in a vaccine” (Sakhurkan 1). Vaccines have also been proven to not be linked to autoimmune diseases in a multitude of studies. Some may say,“Oh, but my child wasn’t vaccinated and he turned out fine”. Sure, your child narrowly avoided almost all the diseases that he could’ve died from that are easily preventable. Natural immunity to these diseases that can be prevented using vaccines does last longer than a vaccine immunity, but the serious chance of fatal injury associated with an infection with a natural immunity is far worse than if one caught the diseases from part-immunization with a vaccine.


Have you ever heard of or seen a child with a vaccine-preventable condition? “In 1961, I tended my young cousin while her mother went to work. She was ill with a fever and complained of a sore throat. The next morning she was unable to breath and began turning blue. An ambulance was called and she was transported to St. Mark’s Hospital in North Salt Lake. The doctors there performed a tracheotomy and did everything they could for her, but she passed away that afternoon from diphtheria. Later that week I also became very ill, as did my aunt and another cousin.

Although I never became ill enough to be hospitalized, my aunt and cousin were in the hospital by the end of the week. I had been immunized against diphtheria as an infant, but had never had a booster. My case at age 15 was considered mild, but I thought it was awful. Like my young cousin, I suffered from a high fever and experienced difficulty breathing. I survived and have never missed a booster immunization. All of my children and grandchildren also have been fully immunized.

My young cousin who passed away at the age of two was not so fortunate. Her mother had never gotten around to getting her vaccinated. My cousin would have survived the attack of diphtheria if she had only been immunized. Her mother and brother both survived and have since become great supporters of immunization. But nothing can bring back little Lois–no matter how much we all wish things had been different” (Hardman 1). This disease that that little child was killed by could have been easily prevented. Imagine if your unvaccinated child went through the same pain and suffering that that little child went through.


There are many easy ways to prevent disease spread such as hand washing, good hygiene, and vaccinating your children. However, you may see that all these preventing actions have one thing in common: it starts with you. Others cannot control whether you wash your hands, or whether you vaccinate your kids. The only thing you can and have to do is to be educated about why certain methods of preventing disease are important, and take your children to be vaccinated.

You can get more information from cdc.gov and educate others who are hesitant or against vaccines and persuade them on why the dangers of vaccines are so small compared to its benefit for society. If the hesitant/ opposed do not change their mind, we need to engage in procedures to prevent disease and, if given the chance, help adults advocate for better vaccine standards to help keep the spread of dangerous diseases to a minimum or not at all.

Works Cited

  1. Klicka, Christopher. ‘Mandatory Vaccinations Are a Violation of Parental Rights.’ Vaccines, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2012. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010672249/OVIC?u=chag91161&sid=OVIC&xid=dc7ab443. Accessed 9 Jan. 2019. Originally published as ‘Immunizations: A Parent’s Choice,’, 13 Sept. 2007. Accessed 9 Jan 2019
  2. Null, Gary, and Martin Feldman. ‘Some Worries About Childhood Vaccinations Are Legitimate.’ Should Vaccinations be Mandatory?, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2010. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010616203/OVIC?u=chag91161&sid=OVIC&xid=b107a964. Accessed 9 Jan. 2019.
  3. “Parents | Making the Vaccine Decision | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reviewed 14 Jan. 2019, www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/vaccine-decision/. Accessed 10 Jan 2019 ‘Global Disease Outbreaks that Could Have Been Prevented with Vaccinations, 2008–2015.’ Opposing Viewpoints in Context – Document – Global Disease Outbreaks that Could Have Been Prevented with Vaccinations, 2008–2015 1/9/19, 9&48 AM http://go.galegroup.com/ps/retrieve.do?tabID=Statistics&resultLi…%7CNOTUDC328114090&searchId=R3&userGroupName=chag91161&inPS=true Page 3 of 3
  4. Tribune Content Agency Photos, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/NOTUDC328114090/OVIC?u=chag91161&sid=OVIC&xid=87b94b65. Accessed 9 Jan. 2019.
  5. ‘Requiring Mandatory Vaccination Is Dangerous.’ Epidemics, edited by David Haugen and Susan Musser, Greenhaven Press, 2011. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010133272/OVIC?u=chag91161&sid=OVIC&xid=8b998f55. Accessed 10 Jan. 2019. Originally published as ‘Protest over Mandatory Flu Shots for Preschoolers,’ Associated Press, 16 Oct. 2008. Accessed 10 Jan 2019.
  6. Miline, Vanessa, et al. “Seven Ways to Talk to Anti-Vaxxers (That Might Actually Change Their Minds).” Healthy Debate, 31 Aug. 2017, healthydebate.ca/2017/08/topic/vaccine-safety-hesitancy. Accessed 25 Jan 2019
  7. Allen, Arthur. ‘Noncompliance with Mandatory Vaccinations Threatens Community Health.’ Should Vaccinations be Mandatory?, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2010. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010616209/OVIC? u=chag91161&sid=OVIC&xid=95ad004d. Accessed 9 Jan. 2019. Originally published as ‘Immune to Reason: Are Vaccine Skeptics Putting Your Kids at Risk?’ Mother Jones, vol. 33, no. 5, 2008, pp. 91-92. Accessed 9 Jan 2019
  8. Meyer, Diane, et al. ‘Refusing or Delaying Vaccinations May Compromise Public Health.’ Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2019. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/XMBNWL949955577/OVIC?u=chag91161&sid=OVIC&xid=da3f09ac. Accessed 9 Jan. 2019. Originally published as ‘The danger of delaying vaccination,’ Baltimore Sun, 24 Aug. 2017.
  9. Smith, Michael J., and Charles R. Woods. “On-Time Vaccine Receipt in the First Year Does Not Adversely Affect Neuropsychological Outcomes.” Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 June 2010, pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/125/6/1134?sso=1&sso_redirect_count=1&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3A%2BNo%2Blocal%2Btoken. Accessed 9 Jan 2019.
  10. ‘Introduction to Should Vaccinations Be Mandatory?: At Issue.’ Should Vaccinations be Mandatory?, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2010. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010616101/OVIC? u=chag91161&sid=OVIC&xid=1a1b79cd. Accessed 9 Jan. 2019.

Cite this paper

The Anti-Vaxxer Epidemic: Why Vaccination Should Be Mandatory. (2022, Feb 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-anti-vaxxer-epidemic-why-vaccination-should-be-mandatory/

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