Mandatory Vaccinations: Will It Happen?
One of the most controversial health issues is the use of vaccinations. Due to the fact that the number of vaccines each person needs to receive continues to rise, the overall necessity of these all but mandated vaccinations has been further called to question. Indeed, given that it is becoming harder and harder for patients to opt out, many people are beginning to raise an eyebrow with regards to the true purpose of vaccines. Either way, recent events suggest that our ability to opt out of vaccinations may one day come to a close. That said, the following is a closer look at the matter of mandatory vaccinations.
The Present State of Vaccinations
While it may seem that everyone has a level of choice with regards to vaccines, that is only partially true. Indeed, whether you are aware of this or not, each of the 50 states has legislation in place that requires certain vaccinations for students. The types of exemptions are as follows:
- Medical Exemptions-Certain patients are allowed to opt out of vaccinations due to allergies or preexisting conditions.
- Religious Exemptions– This type of exemption allows patients to opt out of vaccinations based on religious affiliation.
- Philosophical Exemptions– This allows for patients to opt out of vaccinations based on personal beliefs and philosophies.
As mentioned, all states allow medical exemptions. Religious exemptions are the second most commonly accepted kind of exemption while philosophical exemptions have always been the least most commonly accepted type of exemption; the overall acceptability of philosophical exemptions is dwindling. The following is a break down with regards to which states accept which type of exemptions.
- Religious Exemptions– The following states accept religious exemptions for vaccinations: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
- Philosophical Exemptions– On the other hand, the following states accept philosophical (personal belief) exemptions for vaccinations: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The Future of Mandatory Vaccinations
Since vaccinations must be administered during the early years of one’s life, the majority of vaccine mandates apply to children. This is also because schools are hotbeds for the spread of infections of all kinds.
In the wake of the recent measles outbreaks, there have been steps taken to protect the general public that many seem to think are rather drastic. For instance, in New York City, there have been 285 reported measles cases in Brooklyn since 2018 alone.
Furthermore, between January and April of 2019, there have been 465 cases of measles nationwide. Therefore, while many people object to these new mandates, many others assert that they are necessary. Nevertheless, the actions taken by areas in NYC have been subject to scrutiny nation-wide. In particular, the mandate stated that everyone in the four targeted zip codes must either receive the measles vaccination or suffer penalties such as a $1000 fine or even jail time. An unprecedented move made by the government; this has caused many to become concerned about the future of vaccinations.
The Bottom Line
While vaccinations have been proven to be effective in many situations, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all cure. Therefore, there are many people who believe that vaccinations should be an option. Either way, with diseases such as measles seemingly making a comeback in areas that tend to forego the use of vaccinations, this leaves the medical community on edge with regards to how to keep the public protected. So, if vaccinations are to remain optional, the medical community and government will need to work together to create a way to allow people the freedom of choice without putting the public further at risk.