ProCon.org, a nonpartisan 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity dedicated to promoting critical thinking, created the new website http://vaccines.procon.org to explore the core question "Should any vaccines be required for children?"
Although no federal vaccination laws exist, all 50 states require certain vaccinations for children entering public schools. Depending on the state, children must be vaccinated against some or all of the following diseases: mumps, measles, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and polio. All 50 states also issue medical exemptions to vaccinations; 48 states (excluding Mississippi and West Virginia) permit religious exemptions, and 20 states allow an exemption for philosophical reasons. As of 2009, the national average vaccination rate for required school entry vaccines was 95.41%.
Proponents of vaccination argue it is one of the greatest public health developments of the 20th century. They point out that diseases like rubella (German measles), diphtheria, and whooping cough once killed tens of thousands of infants every year in the U.S. and are now avoided by vaccination. They argue that, although vaccination is not without risks (including rare but serious side effects such as seizures, paralysis, and death), the public health benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.
Opponents of vaccination argue that children's immune systems can deal with most infections and that natural immunity should be allowed to develop. They argue that possible severe side effects from vaccination are a risk that children should not be subjected to when, in most cases, diseases that children are vaccinated against are not usually life threatening. They also argue that vaccines can cause adverse reactions including allergies, auto-immune disorders, autism, ADHD, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
As of 2009, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Physicians recommend that children be vaccinated against fifteen different common childhood illnesses. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, the National Vaccine Information Center, and Generation Rescue say parents should not be required to vaccinate their children.
The latest ProCon.org website explores many pro and con arguments and includes sources, images, videos, reader comments, and a section of little known facts called "Did You Know?" The findings should help readers think critically, educate themselves, and make informed decisions about childhood vaccination.
Did You Know?
- According to a 2003 report by researchers at the Pediatric Academic Society, childhood vaccinations in the U.S. prevent about 10.5 million cases of infectious illness and 33,000 deaths per year.
- About 30,000 cases of adverse reactions to vaccines have been reported annually to the federal government since 1990, with 13% classified as serious, meaning associated with permanent disability, hospitalization, life-threatening illness, or death.
- Over 5,500 cases alleging a causal relationship between vaccinations and autism have been filed under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims between 2001 and 2009.
Learn more at http://vaccines.procon.org