Vaccination Safety Research Assignment 2
The last thing that any parent wants to be responsible for is harm coming to their children. From the moment we meet them, the only thing that we’re concerned with is their happiness and well-being. Advances in medicine have nearly eradicated many diseases, like measles, mumps, polio, and whooping cough, but at what potential cost? The majority of Americans today choose to vaccinate their children, as even they have been vaccinated. There are many people, however, who feel that vaccines have the potential to cause more harm than they do good. These parents are making the decision to not vaccinate their children. We’re going to explore both sides of this issue, looking at the facts that they present. We will look at the epistemological approach that proponents for each side take, and draw a conclusion based on this data.
The anti-vaccine movement is not one that began recently. In fact, it didn’t even begin last century. The first vaccine debates can be traced back to the 18th Century when variolation was introduced to Europe. Variolation was first used in China and the Middle East before being introduced to England and North America in the 1720s. It was a method of immunizing patients against smallpox by infecting them with substance from the pustules of patients with a mild form of the disease (Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d.). Inoculation was introduced to England by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu after learning about the practice in Turkey. She encouraged others to inoculate in order to protect their children against smallpox, but even then there was much debate. It is said that "Pro-inoculators tended to write in the cool and factual tones encouraged by the Royal Society, with frequent appeals to reason, the modern progress of science and the courtesy subsisting among gentlemen. Anti-inoculators purposely wrote like demagogues, using heated tones and lurid scare stories to promote paranoia." (Iannelli, 2019).
Edward Jenner’s smallpox vaccine replaced variolation in the 19th Century, but the debate would continue to rage on. The UK passed the Vaccination Act of 1853 and was answered by the creation of the Anti-Vaccination League. Five years later, the Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League was founded after the UK passed the Vaccination Act of 1867. This act raised the age requirements for getting the smallpox vaccine from 3 months to 14 years old (Iannelli, 2019). There were anti-vaccination leagues in the United States as well. Anti-vaccine groups in the 19th Century typically used the following tactics to advance their cause:
· Vaccines would make you sick.
· They blamed medical despotism, “a hard, materialistic, infidel thing” for creating the vaccination acts.
· They warned about poisonous chemicals in vaccines, namely carbolic acid in the smallpox vaccine.
· They claimed that Jenner’s smallpox vaccine didn’t work.
· They pushed alternative medical practices, including herbalists, homeopaths, and hydropaths,...