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Vaccine Refusal Controversy

The subject that I’ve chosen as a controversial healthcare topic is vaccine refusal. The subject of vaccination has long been a controversial topic in healthcare. Universal vaccination initiatives have been met with resistance.

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There is scientific evidence supporting the benefits of vaccination however, parents and healthcare professionals continue to doubt the effectiveness and safety of vaccines. Vaccine preventable disease continues to be a threat to the public in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that during 2011, a total of 222 cases of measles were reported. 90% of those cases were associated with importations from other countries. (MMWR. 4/20/12). There are several factors as to why patients refuse vaccination. A misconception regarding side effects is a common reason for vaccine refusal. Parents and/or patients believe that the vaccine is made up of the live virus and can in turn make the recipient ill.

They do not understand the process for manufacturing vaccines or the process for which the body creates antibodies. (Fraleigh, J. 5/1/09). Vaccine safety is another reason for vaccine refusal. There is a lack of trust in the federal government, which oversees the approval of vaccine released to be administered. An important factor to vaccine safety is not only the manufacturing process but also maintaining the cold chain for proper vaccine storage. Maintaining the cold chain is an important factor in ensuring that the vaccine being administered is viable.

Maintaining the cold chain relies on more than one person or entity. The cold chain begins with the manufacturer and is then transferred to the delivery of the vaccine and the proper storage. The last phase of the cold chain is the administration of viable vaccine to the patient. There are several areas in this process that allow for vulnerabilities in this process as demonstrated by the Office of Inspector General Report from 2012, Vaccines for Children Program: Vulnerabilities in Vaccine Management (Levinson, D. . Regardless of patient and healthcare professional’s refusal to utilize vaccine there is clearly a benefit to vaccination. Vaccine preventable diseases are debilitating and deadly. A good portion of the general public has never seen some of the vaccine preventable diseases such as polio. Therefore, the existence of such diseases is not relevant to some. From 1960 to 1996, measles vaccines had reduced measles cases by 99. 95%. (HHS. 1997)

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MMWR, Measles-Unites States, 2011 (April 20, 2012 / 61(15);253-257).

Department of Health and Human Services. 1997. Retrieved May 31, 2013 http://archive.hhs.gov/nvpo/concepts/intro6.htm

Fraleigh, James M. Vaccination: Compliance and Controversy. May 1, 2009.

Levinson, Daniel R. Inspector General. Vaccines for Children Program: Vulnerabilities in Vaccine Management, OEI-04-10-00430. June 2012.