Compulsory vaccination is an investment worth risking. This has become a concern for many healthcare organizations worldwide. When people are protected against preventable and infectious diseases, they enjoy greater safety, stability, and security, contributing significantly to their families, societies, and economies (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2021). Unlike other countries, in Canada, different state policies are adopted to improve vaccination against infectious diseases.
Effectiveness of Vaccines
Vaccines are highly effective in preventing dangers of some infectious diseases. Routinized immunization programs have protected many children worldwide from infectious diseases that conventionally caused millions of deaths annually (Constantino et al., 2020). According to CDC, most immunization programs recommended for infants are 90-100% effective (Bhandari, 2020). Undeniably, low vaccination coverage is also a challenge worldwide, which is the main cause for failed vaccination targets in many countries.
Despite vaccination coverage remaining low in Canada, it has effectively controlled deaths associated with infectious diseases. Public Health Authorities of Canada (PHAC) and Canadian Pediatrics Society (CPS) are becoming increasingly concerned about the low immunization coverage in some Canadian provinces such as Nunavut, as summarized in Table 1. However, increasing coverage has impacted the effective reduction of infant mortality rate, as illustrated in Figure 2.
Reasons for Refusing Vaccines
The main reason people are refusing vaccination is concerns about the safety of the vaccines. Increasing problems arise because of information received from acquaintances or discovered in media (Smith, 2017). CPS (2021) mentioned the side effects of vaccines, as part of the information across various media. All health risk information can be overwhelming for some individuals to sift through, making it difficult for them to decide on their own.
The high cost associated with vaccines is also the rationale for refusing them. Vaccination remains pricey not because the costs incurred stem from resources and time committed to learning more about the vaccination and traveling to physician’s offices or vaccination centers (Kim et al., 2018). By extension, these vaccine access walls eventually force individuals to spare some time off work at the expense of seeking vaccines.
Pros of Vaccines
Vaccination is a way of saving the lives of children and adults at large. Immunization is beneficial, especially for young children who are severely affected by the later consequences of contracting infectious diseases. (PHAC) approximated a dollar spent in vaccinating children attack by mumps and rubella (MMR), and measles saves on costs of visiting healthcare practitioners by about $16 (PHAC, 2016). Vaccination also contributes to fewer hospitalization besides reducing premature deaths and time taken by parents to care for sickling children, which closely connected to reduced deaths.
Vaccines are known for protecting the herd or community-based immunity. When a sufficient number of people are immunized, herd immunity develops, which results in rare chances of infectious disease outbreaks and spread (Orenstein, 2019)). Furthermore, vaccines save people time and money (Nandi & Shet, 2020). The amount of time and money spent to seek vaccination is less than that spent off-work when an individual contracts preventable infectious disease.
Cons of Vaccines
Vaccination infringes the rights of individuals, especially in countries where it is made compulsory. For example, changing school entry requirements in Canada have posed a significant challenge to parents who support their children’s immunization based on policy recommendations instead of relying on their decisions—this infringes their right to choose what is best for their children (Pierik, 2016). Additionally, vaccines contain ingredients considered by some people to be objectionable or immoral (McKee & Bohannon, 2016). For example, DTaP is made from animal products such as insect cells, which contradicts some societal beliefs.
The goals of vaccination in some countries from the common goal for vaccination. In Canada, health policy aims to ensure that parents immunize their children for a negative reason: to avoid legal repercussions linked to nonvaccinating instead of minimizing the risk of infectious disease outbreak and spread (CPS, 2021). Moreover, vaccines are typically unnatural, and natural immunity is more effective than them (PHAC, 2016). As a result, many people prioritize remaining unvaccinated to strengthen their immunity to fight infectious diseases in the future.
Mandatory Vaccination Proposal
The only way to improve the outcome of vaccination is by making it compulsory. Contextually, vaccination is among the most effective public health intervention worldwide because it saves lives and promotes good health. Pierik (2016) argued that vaccine mandate and compulsory vaccination policies are vital tools for achieving high vaccination coverage rates, which positively impact people’s health in a country. Mandatory vaccination is also the easiest and effective way of preventing harm to others via preventable infectious diseases (Savulescu, 2020).
Conclusively, compulsory vaccination is a force to reckon with in improving vaccination coverage. In Canada, mandatory vaccination has been more effective in provinces such as Labrador, Newfoundland, and New Bruns Wick. This vaccination strategy is more advantageous in Canada because it has achieved tremendous progress in terms of population coverage. Not forgetting the pros of compulsory vaccination, countries should embrace it as a strategy of improving immunization results.
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