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Emma Smith
Mrs. Pettay
Eng112 2B
25 March 2016
To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate
Child vaccinations can both save and take lives. Deadly diseases such as smallpox and
polio can be vaccinated against; however, on rare occasions these vaccinations cause adverse
reactions that could result in death. As well as this, potential side effects of these vaccinations
often incite fear into parents as they range from paralysis and seizures to death. No federal
vaccination laws currently exist, but all 50 states require vaccinations for children entering
public schools. Both those who support and oppose child vaccination requirement value the
safety and health of children. However, the two sides divide in views regarding the safety of
vaccinations and the vaccinations effects on their children.
Those who oppose child vaccination requirements often claim it is in their rights to
religious freedom to exempt from vaccinating their children. Of the 50 states that have
vaccination laws, 48 permit religious exemptions. Christian Scientists use a quote from their
founder Mary Baker Eddy to support their opposition to vaccinations, as she stated that the
calm, Christian state of mind is a better preventative of contagion than a drug, or than any other
possible sanative method the perfect Love that casteth out fear is a sure defense. The
Amish view vaccinations as unnecessary and weakening to the immune system. The Universal
Family Church feels that the decision of vaccinating ones child should be left up to the parents.
Despite the variances between these different religions, it is the governments duty to follow the

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First Amendment of the US Constitution. This Amendment states that Congress shall make no
law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Since only
state laws exist requiring child vaccination, one may argue that local governments are not
violating the First Amendment with their legislation. However, the Supreme Court case Cantwell
v. Connecticut held that state and local governments infringement upon religious freedom is
also unconstitutional ("Vaccines ProCon.org."). It is understandable that one may feel that
vaccinations are wrong as many religious texts support natural remedies rather than scientifically
crafted, non-naturally occurring vaccines. It is wrong for any government to force someone to
violate their religious beliefs. Although refusing to vaccinate ones child could result in their
illness and possible death, the decision should be left up to the parents if they are willing to
accept the possible effects.
The con side of child vaccination also uses cases of adverse side effects as support for
their beliefs. The Centers for Disease Control have reported that all vaccines carry risk of a lifethreatening allergic reaction. This allergic reaction is also called anaphylaxis, and it occurs in
about one per million children ("Vaccines ProCon.org."). The likeliness for these side effects
may be low, but they are still possible. This possibility is what may strike fear into any parents,
regardless of whether they vaccinated their child or not. Parents both for and against child
vaccination can mutually agree that the safety and health of their children is a priority. However,
these parents may differ in what actions they feel obligated to take to further ensure their childs
safety and health- to vaccinate or not to vaccinate.
Those who support child vaccination often hold views that contradict those who oppose
it, as they argue for the rarity of adverse reactions. ProCon.orgs forum on child vaccination
includes the following quote from neurosurgeon and Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN,

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Sanjay Gupta: You are 100 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to have a serious
allergic reaction to the vaccine that protects you against measles. This vaccine against the
measles can fall into the division of combination vaccines. The MMR vaccine, that was created
to protect children from measles, mumps, and rubella, has been used without adverse effects
since the mid-1940s ("Vaccines ProCon.org."). Supporters of child vaccination understand the
chance of anaphylaxis in their children, but they value their childs high likeliness to good health
over their childs low likeliness of an adverse reaction.
The pro side of child vaccination also uses the life-saving capabilities of vaccines to
support their positions. Annually, 2.5 million children are saved from preventable diseases.
And from 1994-2014, 732,000 were saved from death and 322,000,000 from childhood illnesses
("Vaccines ProCon.org."). Death is an inevitable part of life; all parents must recognize this.
However, some take the chance at post-poning this inevitability by vaccinating their child.
Children are at risk of death every second of their lives. Because of this, many vaccination
supporters view the chance of death by adverse reaction as just another unlikely risk.
The two sides of child vaccination may differ in many aspects, but they could come
together to help create safer, more effective vaccines. Statistics showing the life-saving
capabilities of vaccines have made it impossible to ignore the benefits of vaccines. However, the
fear of adverse reactions and harmful ingredients have frightened many parents to the extent that
they do not vaccinate their children. To come together, both sides could mutually work on and
fund the research and development of new vaccinations. These vaccinations could use the
scientific basis of previously existing vaccines while attempting to use less-harmful ingredients
and reduce the chances of adverse reactions.

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As I plan to be a mother one day, I feel that the benefits of vaccinating a child far
outweigh the chance of an adverse reaction. As someone who wants to be a parent, I understand
the petrifying feeling of potentially losing my child to an adverse reaction. But since the
likelihood is so low, I would rather take my chances and vaccinate my child. Kids are at risk of
dying every second as they could fall of the swings, eat a poisonous mushroom, walk in the
street, or fall victim to any of the infinite dangers and accidents that lay in wait in the world. As
parents, people take risks everyday with their children as they dont hold their hand crossing the
street or play on their phone while their child swings on the playground. Vaccinating my child
would put her at risk of an adverse reaction, but I do not plan to live my life in fear of what could
go wrong. The wrong could happen anytime, but the hope for the good makes trying worth it.

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Work Cited
"Vaccines ProCon.org." ProCon.org. ProCon.org, 16 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.