Infectious Diseases: The Dilemma! Facts for Kids
Everyone probably agrees infectious diseases aren’t nice! But how much choice should people have about vaccinations? Bene and Mal are looking at the pros and cons in their series Demanding Dilemmas!
What are infectious diseases?
Did you know that sneezes can spread diseases? This is what we call an infectious disease, when your cold or cough can be passed onto the people around you.
Now, we all get coughs and colds but some more serious infectious diseases can kill and that’s why vaccines are so important to give you body some instructions on how to fight these diseases. Vaccines are a way of giving people immunity to diseases.
When you’re a kid, your parents are encouraged to get quite a few of these for you to protect you against horrible illnesses like Measles, Whooping Cough, German Measles and Rubella. But are they OK and should they be forced to or should it be up to us to decide?
1 in 10 of all deaths in this country are from infectious diseases. The fact that it isn’t more than that is largely due to vaccines.
However, some people are wary of vaccines. They don’t mind taking medicine when poorly but if it’s “just in case”… well maybe I’d rather not. What if I have a horrible reaction?
Of course, this is very unlikely. And reactions might be a lot less horrible than catching the disease! Plus, the only reason diseases like Polio and Smallpox have been virtually obliterated is that enough people have been vaccinated so the germs have nowhere left to go. It’s called population immunity – or sometimes, herd immunity.
Vaccinations are considered so important that some countries fine or even imprison people for skipping their children’s vaccinations. However lots of people believe it’s their own body so it’s up to them to decide.
In this country routine vaccinations AREN’T compulsory. The government prefers to encourage people to see the benefits in vaccinations and make it easy for people to get them at the right times.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment box below!
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Benny and Mal’s Demanding Dilemmas, with support from Nuffield Council on Bioethics. More details at www.nuffieldbioethics.org