Mandatory Vaccines: Shots Should Be As Nonnegotiable As Seat Belts, Experts Claim

Mandatory vaccines may not be happening any time soon, but a growing number of experts think that they should be.

While many parts of the country allow exemptions for vaccinations under philosophical or religious differences, a large number of medical professionals are crying foul.

In a recent article on Huffington Post, some of these individuals discussed their feelings, drawing comparisons between mandatory vaccines and mandatory laws requiring motorists to wear seat belts.

Seat belt laws have been widely accepted on the grounds that research proves they save lives. Many in the medical community point to the eradication and then resurgence of measles as examples of how effective vaccinations are, and how dangerous it can be when one is given a free pass to avoid them.

One of these experts is Patsy Stinchfield, director of Pediatric Infectious Disease Services at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

In comments to the news site, she had this to say.

"We would never think to just lay that newborn baby down in the front seat and say, 'I don't really believe in car seats,' or 'I don't really want to buckle my child up.'... We should have the same kind of vigor when it comes to protecting children from vaccine-preventable diseases."
Arthur Caplan is another of the medical experts who agree that mandatory vaccines should be enacted, but he acknowledges the difficulty of doing them because it "takes away a liberty."

He said that it's "taken either a serious outbreak of disease or a national tragedy to inspire legislation around personal-choice issues like car seats and seat belts."

"You usually have to have an epidemic or a disaster or some demonstration of harm before you take away individual choice," said Caplan, who called himself a longtime proponent of vaccination.

"That cultural stance is not unique to vaccines. Freedom has come before public health, every single time."
Anti-vaxxers have been blamed for the recent measles outbreak that resulted in 644 cases in 2014, the highest number in 20 years.

"Now, with 102 cases of measles across 14 states in January alone, the country is on track to exceed last year's figures," writes HuffPo's Anna Almendrala.

Still, many parents point to the work of licensed medical professionals like Dr. Jack Wolfson in Arizona, who believe that vaccines are toxic.

But what do you think, readers? Does the seat belt argument hold weight? Should mandatory vaccines be enacted across the country?

[Image via Shutterstock]