Mandatory Vaccinations Controversy

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Vaccinations and the policies surrounding them have come more and more into the center of public controversy in recent years. Those who would like to implement nationwide, mandatory vaccinations are acting in what they believe is the best interest of public health. However, this plan of action flies directly in the face of our national values and the modern stance of medicine. The United States of America is a country of many freedoms, one of those is the freedom of self-determination. With this freedom comes the individual right and responsibility to question, research, and decide if vaccinations are prudent for each themselves and their children. Some may decide that vaccinations are the correct choice while others may reject them. Nonetheless, …show more content…

The healthcare industry has taken the stance that every patient has a right to be informed before making health care decisions. The end of the last century saw the development of a healthcare model centered on the patient’s autonomy and choice. This was in attempt to do away with the paternalistic and authoritarian manner that had previously characterized medicine. Paternalism is the substitution of one individual’s judgment (in this instance being a public health professional) in place of another’s decision-making abilities, for the purpose of promoting that individual’s welfare. The new relationship between healthcare providers and a patient is treated as a type of contract that is invalid without the patient’s consent (Showalter, 2004). As Dr. Jane Orient explained, since the Nuremburg Trials consent has been treated as an absolute necessity before any and all medical procedures. She believes that 3rd party encroachments, in this case the government, on the doctor-patient relationship are both dangerous and undemocratic. She claims that they put the doctor in a situation of having to harm their patient and therefore break their Hippocratic Oath to follow public health policy. Dr. Orient also discusses how this medical model is reminiscent of a Socialist State, one that would disvalue the individual in order to …show more content…

personal freedom. If viewed from a strictly public health perspective then compulsory vaccinations seems wholly logical, but this is the United States. A country that prides itself on its democracy and citizen’s personal freedoms. How can we so casually disregard those personal freedoms whenever it suits the general public? The post-World War II concept of the right to informed consent has centered on an acknowledgment of the inviolability of the individual's human right to autonomy and self-determination. This ethical concept, born out of unparalleled tragedy, has emerged as the single most important force in shaping modern bioethics. If we hope to continue this progressive, ethical practice of medicine we cannot allow any further encroachments of individual’s medical rights. What all citizens deserve is accurate data on the safety of vaccines. They deserve the right to choose whether or not to vaccinate themselves and their children. And those that choose to vaccinate, after weighing the known benefits and risks, deserve safer

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