Introduction The purpose of this persuasive essay is to take a position on the topic; Compulsory immunisation for all Australian children and the issues linked to compulsory immunisation. Firstly the persuasive essay will define and immunity; following this relevant diseases to immunisation will be discussed. Finally the essay will explore the major arguments associated with compulsory immunisation for children. Immunisation The immunisation is the process of protection against harmful diseases. Immunisation is a method of disease prevention to reduce the likely hood of developing a disease.
Immunisation is a process of receiving a vaccination through an injection. (Australian Government, 2009) Then the body produces an immune response as if their body was being attacked by a disease, however without suffering symptoms. In future the immune system will respond fast enough to prevent the disease from developing. There are different types of vaccines for different diseases. As every disease has its own characteristics therefore for every disease you need a different vaccine. The national immunisation program schedule informs all on when immunisation is needed.
Different vaccines are to be taken at different times. In some circumstances immunisation is only needed if the person is to travel to a different country. (Australian Government, May, 2009) There are many minor side affects associated with immunisation however they only last a short amount of time and all recover without any problems. The common side effects following immunisation include redness, soreness, swelling at the site of the injection, mild fever and being grizzly or unsettled. Serious reaction to immunisation is very rare, allergic reactions to part of a vaccine maybe life threatening.
Not everyone in the community can be immunised. If someone has a severe allergic reaction to a component in the vaccine they can not be immunised. A person with an immune system which is suppressed can normally not be immunised also with the vaccine containing modified ‘live’ viruses. Immune Function Immunity is an ability to be immune, immunity involves two aspects specificity and memory. Specificity is the ability to recognize and respond to a particular foreign cell. Memory refers to the fact of a second exposure of the same organism producing a larger and more rapid response.
Immune response involves lymphocytes and phagocytes and includes both humoral and cell-medicated mechanisms. Phagocytes are involved in removing debris ad flight infections, phagocytes are attracted to the site of infection engulfing harmful bacteria and damaged cells. The lymphocytes are responsible for the production of antibodies and are produced in the bone marrow. There are two main groups of lymphocytes; T cells and B cells they work together to provide the body’s specific immune response (Spencely, et al. 2004). The process of the immune response works in different stages.
The first stage in the immune response is the inflammatory response. The inflammatory response increases the blood flow to the effected area; causing redness. The inflammatory response then increases permeability of blood cells, and the movement of leucocytes out of blood vessels into damaged tissues. The inflammatory response allows antibodies and complement to find the site of infection quickly. The next stage in the immune response is the histamines. Histamines are a naturally occurring substance in the body. The function of the histamines is to dilate the blood vessels to manage internal environment.
An excessive production of histamines is triggered by contact with certain allergens resulting in over-dilation and inflammation of tissues. The next stage in the immune response is the white blood cells. The white blood cells are slightly larger than the red blood cells, though white blood cells are not as common. There are different types of white blood cells; Phagocytes and lymphocytes. As part of the immune response the phagocytes are responsible for removing debris and fighting infections. Phagocytes are attracted to the site of an infection; they engulf harmful bacteria and damaged cells.
Lymphocytes are responsible for the production of antibodies and the development of the immune response. The last stage in the immune response is the interferon, however only applies to viruses. Interferon’s are small proteins produced by virus infected cells and activated T cells. Interferons operate on uninfected neighbouring cells, leaving them less susceptible to viral invasion (Spencely et al. 2004). Though a child’s immune system and response operate very differently to an adult’s. A child’s immune response is not fully developed therefore the immune response does not react as quickly as an adults.
A child’s immune system has not been contact with as many foreign cells therefore not responding as quick. (Australian Academy of Science, June 2008) Relevant Diseases A Disease is a condition that impairs the normal activity of an organism (Spencely, et al. 2004). Diseases can be either infectious or non-infectious. Infectious diseases occur by touch, were non-infectious diseases are either inherited or causes by toxins or pollutants in the environment. Not all diseases are relevant to immunisation. In Australia only certain diseases you can be immunised against.
The improvement in the levels of immunisation should help Australia avoid new epidemics of vaccine-preventable diseases. The diseases that Australians can be immunised against are: Hepatitis B (hepB); Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTPa); Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) c,d; Inactivated poliomyelitis (IPV); Pneumococcal conjugate (7vPCV); Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); Meningococcal C (MenCCV); Rotavirus; Varicella (VZV); Influenza; Pneumococcal polysaccharide (23vPPV) (State government of Victoria, Australia, Department of Health, 2010) These vaccines are mostly all required before a person becomes an adult.
The effects these diseases have on our body can sometimes be life threatening. Hepatitis b is a virus that inflames the liver by multiplying. Hepatitis is found in the blood and other body fluids (Hepatitis Australia, 2010) Meningococcal C is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitdis. (Meningococcal vaccines for Australian, 2009) Meningococcal disease occurs most commonly as either septicaemia or meningococcal meningitis, or as a combination of both. Although, many diseases have vaccines which prevent illness. Major Arguments Compulsory immunisation for all Australian children has been proposed.
There are several major arguments associated with this proposal though research shows that the sensible argument would be immunisation should not be compulsory for ALL children. However there are many risks that can be linked with not having compulsory immunisation. Research has shown that not being vaccinated can not only affect the person but the whole community. Therefore the idea of community immunity (herd immunity) was created (Herd immunity, 2007). Community immunity works by indirectly protecting unimmunised persons, by surrounding them with immunised people.
However community immunity only applies to diseases transmitted from person to person, thus not being completely effective. Many would also argue that it is an individual’s responsibility to immunise their self. Therefore immunisation should not be compulsory as though it may create community immunity it should be up to the individual to protect themselves. Furthermore compulsory immunisation for all children would protect the individual. The government has the right to protect the individual as immunisation would prevent the individual from acquiring any illness from a disease.
However every individual is different and the parent of the individual would know best. Therefore if a parent does not feel comfortable or knows that immunisation would no be sensible for their child’s health they should not have to undergo the immunisation. On the other hand the government should educate individuals and their parents on immunisation and the effectiveness of it. Compulsory immunisation for all Australian children would not be sensible decision as individual circumstances are not taken into account. An ndividuals circumstance may not allow them or it would be too much of a risk if they where to undergo immunisation. If an individual suffers from anaphylaxis to a component in the vaccine they would be unable to immunised. As a result not all children can be immunised because some may suffer from anaphylaxis; however there is only a small portion of people who do suffer from anaphylaxis from components in vaccines. Another individual circumstance which would also object to compulsory immunisation is the individual’s religious beliefs.
Some religious groups are concerned about the characteristics of some vaccine ingredients for example, gelatin, which is partially hydrolysed collagen, is usually of bovine or porcine origin. Gelatin is added to some vaccines to act as a stabiliser against adverse conditions, such as temperature extremes, which may affect the vaccine quality (Australian government; Department of health and aging, 2008) Therefore if an individual believes that the immunisation does not adhere to their religious beliefs then they should not have to take part in the immunisation.
Though the position compulsory immunisation for all children is irrational there are some long term effects of not immunising. Not immunising can lead to contracting a disease which may be very dangerous or even life threatening, as the body is unable to attack the infection at a fast speed. Not immunising can also affect others as your child may affect another. Also during a disease outbreak an unimmunised child may be excluded from school or childcare until the outbreak is over.
However in some circumstances you child may not experience any of these consequences. In conclusion Compulsory immunisation for ALL children would not be a sensible proposal. Though immunisation protects against harmful diseases the parent should be allowed to make an educated decision for their child. As each child is different, each child’s needs to be catered for differently.