Taking a closer look at vaccination


The influenza vaccine helps to prevent people from contracting the flu.

Should vaccines be required?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


Throughout history, vaccines have saved countless lives from dangerous illnesses. Smallpox, a disease with a 30% fatality rate, was declared eradicated in 1980 due to global vaccination efforts. Polio, a disease that can cause paralysis, is now unheard of in the United States.

While vaccines have been proven to be safe, some people still opt to not vaccinate their children, putting them and others in danger. Recently, the state of Washington experienced a measles outbreak in areas with higher percentages of unvaccinated people. There’s little debate to whether vaccines are effective and safe. However, there is much debate as to whether you can refuse a vaccine for you or your children due to religious or personal beliefs. Some say that mandatory vaccination infringes on choice, while others say that not getting vaccinated makes you a danger to yourself and others.

When enough of the population is immunized against a disease, the disease can not spread, even among the people who aren’t immune. This is called herd immunity, and it requires about 95% of people to be immune to the disease.

“I think we should require the 95% [for herd immunity],” freshman Travis Tran said. “If they still don’t believe in vaccinations, that is all up to them. But they will learn that vaccinations help because they will see that their own children are dying because of disease.”

Fears of vaccinations may stem from a lack of knowledge. When looking at the ingredient list, it’s easy to be worried about formaldehyde or aluminum. However, toxicity is about the amount of a substance, and the chemicals in vaccines are nowhere near toxic levels.

“The reason why a lot of people are scared to get vaccinated is usually because they don’t know the whole thing,” biology teacher Osamu Ono said. “I don’t think we can force people to do it, because if there is some religion that says you cannot do vaccinations, then you’re also kind of violating their religious rights, so you’re taking care of one problem by causing a different one.”

Tung Nguyen thinks that vaccines should be mandatory because they are lifesaving.

“It prevents people from dying, and saving lives is always a plus,” Nguyen said.

Ono thinks that vaccine hesitancy stems from a lack of knowledge, and more should be taught to people about vaccines to make sure that they know what exactly is going on.

“It’ll be good if they teach [vaccines] to where they dig deep about what a vaccine actually is,” Ono said. “Then people will be able to make a better choice about why they should or why the shouldn’t take it.”