Many childhood diseases can now be prevented through the use of vaccines.Should parents be made by law to immunise their children against common diseases or should individuals have the right to choose not to immunise their children?
The question of whether we should oblige parents to immunise their children against common diseases is a social rather than a medical one. Since we are free to choose what we eat or drink or how much exercise we take, why should the medical treatment we decide to undergo be any different?
Medical researchers and governments are primarily interested in overall statistics and trends and in money-saving schemes, which fail to take into consideration the individual's concerns and rights. While immunisation against diseases such as tetanus and whooping cough may be effective, little information is released about the harmful effects of vaccinations, which can sometimes result in growth problems in children or even death.
The body is designed to resist disease and to create its own natural immunity through contact with that disease. When children are given artificial immunity, we create a vulnerable society, which is entirely dependent on immunisation. In the event that mass immunisation programmes were to cease, the society as a whole would be more at risk than ever before.
In addition there is the issue of the rights of the individual. As members of a society, why should we be obliged to subject our children to this potentially harmful practice? Some people may also be against immunisation on religious grounds and their needs must be considered when any decisions are made.
For these reasons I feel strongly that immunisation programmes should not be obligatory and that the individual should have the right to choose whether or not to participate.