Mandatory Vaccination in Children: An Ethical Dilemma

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Vaccination was first introduced globally for small pox and later on extended to other communicable diseases which are now known as vaccine preventable disease. Vaccination is beneficial both for individuals and community. This bring us to the ethical dilemma - Vaccination of a healthy child with the intention of protecting both the individual child and the community at the same time exposing the child to the theoretical risk of exposure to disease products whether live, attenuated or killed. There was a time when people never questioned the government or their physicians. Now because of more public awareness and accessibility to medical information, they are questioning the safety aspects of vaccines. Most of the time parents take decision for a minor, even in the worst scenarios their decisions are always for the best interest of the child. Parental autonomy should always be respected unless the child is at greatest risk for not getting the vaccine. Is it justifiable to scare the public by the statement by not vaccinating yourself or your child it poses a threat for the community? Who has the right to take a decision for a child – parent or physician or the legislation? Whose interest is to protect a community by vaccination – the government, the legislation, the pharmaceutical companies, researchers, physician or the individual? The Case Mrs. A with her new born is at a pediatric clinic. She is been advised to vaccinate her baby for a disease X,Y, and Z. Mrs A has a discussion with Dr.D regarding the benefits of vaccines, possible side effects and why her baby needs to be vaccinated. She understands the benefits and the risks, but decides not to immunize her baby because she believes that her baby is not at risk of contractin... ... middle of paper ... ...iriam Fine-Goulden Opticon1826, Issue 8, Spring 2010 16. Bradley, Peter, ‘Should childhood immunization be compulsory?’, J Med Ethics, 25 (1999) 17. Isaacs, David et al., ‘Ethical issues in immunisation’, Vaccine, 27 (2009): 18. Salmon, Daniel A. and Saad B. Omer, ‘Individual freedoms versus collective responsibility:immunization decision-making in the face of occasionally competing values’, Emerging Themes Epid, 3 (2006): 19. Moran, Nicola E. et al., ‘From compulsory to voluntary immunisation: Italy’s National Vaccination Pland (2005-2007) and the ethical and organizational challenges facing public health policy-makers across Europe’, J Med Ethics, 34 (2008): 20. Kennedy, Alison M et al., ‘Vaccine beliefs of parents who oppose compulsory vaccination’, Pub Health Rep, 120 (2005) 21. Isaacs, David et al., ‘Ethical issues in immunisation’, Vaccine, 27 (2009): 615-618.

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