The Herd Immunity Theory- A Theory that Justify the Viability of Mandatory Childhood Vaccinations

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TheHerd Immunity Theory- A Theory that Justify the Viability ofMandatory Childhood Vaccinations



TheHerd Immunity Theory- A Theory that Justify the Viability ofMandatory Childhood Vaccinations

Thedebate over the mandatory children vaccination has attracted severaltheories that gain huge attention from the parents over last fewdecades. The theories are meant to convince the parents of theimportance of having the mandatory vaccination for children. However,the highest number of parents is opting not to have their childrenvaccinated. The reason for this shift is because parents fear thesafety of the vaccine on the allegations that it can harm theirchildren however, according to Mills,Jadad, Ross, and Wilson (2005),these beliefs are not necessary because they are not based on themedical, religious, right of freedom, and philosophical reasons.

Nevertheless,the mandatory vaccine for children is based on the rules andregulations that guide vaccinations procedures and practices. As aresult, most of the theories developed from mandatory vaccinationsexamine the risk and the benefits ratio to convince the parents ofthe importance of embracing the mandatory vaccination for children.However, parents are still reluctant to children administration ofthe mandatory vaccine. Consequently, ethical theories and conceptshave been developed to examine the effect of parents’ beliefs aboutthe role of the mandatory children vaccination.

Theherd immunity theory has been used to justify the need for having themandatory vaccination. The theory, which in the real sense is astandard comeback, affirms that it is viable for to have herdimmunity set in place based on the many subjects to participate inthe immunization practices however, this is only possible wherethere is a compulsion. According to Stone,Shulgin, and Agur (2000) who examined the use of SIR epidemic modeland the need to have childhood vaccination,the theory of herd immunity was developed on the basis of thenaturally acquired immunity and not on the basis of thevaccine-induced immunity. The theory suggests that if in a communityor a country there is vast or majority of people in the overhaulpopulation who are immune to a specific disease or outbreak, then thechances that the disease can spread is minimal however, precautionsmust be taken to the ovoid spreading of a given disease.

Basedon this argument, the theory affirms that pro-vaccinations aresupposed to be mandatory and justify the fact that universalvaccinations should be mandated to help in controlling diseaseoutbreak, especially for small children. However, the challenge withthe herd immunity theory is that there are numerous disease outbreaksthat require immense vaccination in populations this includes peoplewith 100 percent uptake. The theory justifies that when a country isfacing an outbreak such as measles, it is likely that there are otherissues that are linked to the population that is unvaccinated thismostly affects the pesky unvaccinated children (Hobson‐West,2007).As a result, vaccines are effective, there are no significantstrains, and, in reality, vaccines do work to achieve the immunity ofchildren and also the adults.


Today,there are increased numbers of children vaccination that are coveredin most of the countries. This is an indication that vaccinations areparamount and should be widely accepted across all public healthmeasures. However, in the United States, the national estimates thatare given do not show the viability of having mandatory childhoodvaccination (Smithetal.,2011).As a result, it is paramount to set in strategies that can result inincreased adoption of mandatory childhood vaccinations. This isbecause there is a need to reduce or control transmission of thediseases that can be prevented through vaccination. The strategiesinclude:

  1. Creating inventions with the parents

Asstated before, parents are the hindrance to the effectiveimplementation of mandatory childhood vaccinations. Parents fear anddoubt the effectiveness of the immunizations given to their children.As a result, there is a need to create intervention and educate theparents on the importance of having childhood vaccinations. Theintervention will create awareness on the need of having mandatorychildhood vaccinations on issues such as health benefits. Moreover,the intervention will help in reducing the hesitancy in the publichealth attention and develop a population of parents who are willingto practice childhood vaccinations for their children.

  1. Campaigning for the childhood vaccination

Itis evidence that public confidence in childhood vaccines hascontinued to decrease. Moreover, the number of anti-vaccine movementshas continued to grow and is becoming stronger because there areminimal campaigns on the importance of having childhood vaccines. Asa result, campaigning for the mandatory childhood vaccines will be anexcellent strategy to win and effectively address the importance ofhaving childhood vaccination. The campaign can be achieved throughsocial marketing of the childhood vaccines, door-to-door education,or through promotions that make the parents take their children forvaccinations (Wilson,Baker, Nordstrom, &amp Legwand, 2008). Additionally,parents can be given a program on the benefits vs. risk ratio andhelp them make decisions that are positive about childhoodvaccinations.

  1. Respecting parents’ beliefs and perception

Itis important to respect parent’s beliefs on children vaccinations,their perception, knowledge, and behavior towards the practice. Thisstrategy will help in understanding the areas that hinder parents toembrace mandatory childhood vaccination. Additionally, it would beeasy to create awareness on childhood vaccines to control and reducethe hesitancy in parents.


Hobson‐West,P. (2007). ‘Trusting blindly can be the biggest risk of all’:organised resistance to childhood vaccination in the UK. Sociologyof health &amp illness,29(2),198-215.

Mills,E., Jadad, A. R., Ross, C., &amp Wilson, K. (2005). Systematicreview of qualitative studies exploring parental beliefs andattitudes toward childhood vaccination identifies common barriers tovaccination. Journalof clinical epidemiology,58(11),1081-1088.

Smith,P. J., Humiston, S. G., Marcuse, E. K., Zhao, Z., Dorell, C. G.,Howes, C., &amp Hibbs, B. (2011). Parental delay or refusal ofvaccine doses, childhood vaccination coverage at 24 months of age,and the Health Belief Model. PublicHealth Reports,126(Suppl2), 135.

Stone,L., Shulgin, B., &amp Agur, Z. (2000). Theoretical examination ofthe pulse vaccination policy in the SIR epidemic model. Mathematicaland computer modelling,31(4),207-215.

Wilson,F. L., Baker, L. M., Nordstrom, C. K., &amp Legwand, C. (2008).Using the teach-back and Orem`s Self-care Deficit Nursing theory toincrease childhood immunization communication among low-incomemothers. Issuesin comprehensive pediatric nursing,31(1),7-22.

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