Vaccination is one of the few ways you can protect yourself and others from infectious diseases. If you vaccinate it limits the spread of disease and could potentially wipe it out all together and it foregoing into the future. To make sure you and your family are up to date and fully vaccinated there is a National Immunisation Program schedule that is set by the Australian Government (‘Why immunisation is important’, 2019). By getting vaccinated you are not only protecting yourself, and your children but you are also protecting the community. See the outcome is if the more people who are vaccinated, the lesser people will be infect from disease and the less the disease can spread that is why vaccinations are so important. ‘Immunisation saves lives. As recent as the 1950’s, thousands of children died every year from disease such as the following tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis). It is now considered rare for anyone in Australia to die from these infectious diseases. And that is thanks to vaccinations which were introduced in the 1960’s and 1970’s’ (‘Why immunisation is important’, 2019). How vaccinations work is the vaccination uses your body’s immune system to increase protection to an infection before you come into contact with that infection. Vaccinations have been tested to demonstrate their safety and effectiveness in protecting against infectious disease‘(‘Why immunisation is important’, 2019).
There are many infectious diseases that are very rare or not even to be known to be active anymore once again thanks to vaccinations. However there are still a number of infectious disease outbreaks still happening around the world today. The history of modern outbreaks includes the following flu, chicken pox, whooping cough and measles they still have occasional outbreaks in Australia, mostly when introduced from overseas and could potentially make a strong comeback if the public stop vaccinating. ‘In January 2019, 62,225 measles cases were notified globally compared to the same period in 2018 when only 23,535 cases were notified’ (‘Why immunisation is important’, 2019). ‘In February 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus an international public health emergency following outbreaks in Central and South America. There is still ongoing evidence of transmission throughout the Americas, Africa and other regions of the world. And as of 2018, there was a total of 86 countries and territories that have reported evidence of mosquito-transmitted Zika infection’(‘Why immunisation is important’, 2019). ‘The latest outbreak of Ebola virus disease started in Democratic Republic of Congo in August 2018, and is still ongoing. There have been a total of 584 deaths that have been confirmed during this outbreak’(‘Why immunisation is important’, 2019). ‘The first cases of HIV/AIDS were identified in the gay community in America in 1981 and, by 1985, at least one case had been reported from each region of the world. In 2017, more than 36.9 million people around the world were living with HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately there is still no cure however there are current treatments that allow patients to live long and healthy lives’(‘Why immunisation is important’, 2019). It is important to look at vaccinations from a sociological perspective because ‘the sociological perspective involves recognizing and evaluating the effect of social relationships and social structures and forces’ (‘How to Think Like a Sociologist’, 2019).
The sociological factors that we will be looking at are class, culture and age. For they are the most relevant sociological factors that have an effect on vaccinations.
Middle class is a group of individuals in society who fall socio-economically between the working class and the upper class. Which is a nicer way of saying the poor and the rich. Middle class unfortunately can have a big impact on your health.There has been a significant improvement in vaccination coverage worldwide, the overall improvement is not equally distributed among the countries. ‘There is evidence that suggests that that there is a social gradient in child vaccination within countries. Parents who are well-educated, wealthy or living in urban areas their children have a higher rate to be immunised against disease. Social statues in vaccination can potentially ruin the global efforts to reduce the burden of disease in low/middle income class’ (Hajizadeh, 2018).Children from socioeconomically disadvantage backgrounds are generally at more increased risk of contracting infectious diseases and children are our future therefore the globe could be at risk. A non -vaccinated individual is the cause of millions of preventable child deaths each year in low/middle income countries. Studies show that socioeconomic inequalities are still a large barrier to children’s vaccination in low/middle income countries (Hajizadeh, 2018). Another issue is parents often don’t keep up to date with their children’s vaccinations. ‘The Unity Health Care clinic, patients are mostly low-income, mostly African-American patients. Patients often miss vaccinations because of struggles in their parents’ lives. The reasons include: ‘transportation, couldn’t get time off work, didn’t have health insurance and didn’t know that they could come in without insurance’ (‘NPR Choice page’, 2019). This happens a lot in the low/middle income class, for they are not educated on the importance of vaccinations. Indigenous Australians have been reported to be more social and economical disadvantage. Vaccine prevention diseases are amenable to rapid and cost effective prevention and have vaccination programs have been effective to reduce health risks but however the delivery of these programs like other health care interventions or promotions always depends on the culturally appropriateness health services. This comes down to sociological factors how class can affect individuals perspectives of vaccinations.
“Recent research has proved a number of broader cultural factors that may contribute to negative vaccination attitudes, which include an alignment with alternative/complementary or holistic health, anti-authoritarian world views, conspiracy ideation and certain political, spiritual, or religious beliefs’ (Browne, Thomson, Rockloff & Pennycook, 2019). Studies show that there are some specific health beliefs such as mistrust of medical professionals and vaccine efficacy and safety. Which affect attitudes and behaviour of individuals and result in negative attitudes against vaccinations. ‘Vaccinations from public opinion include a varied of beliefs that result in the tension between divergent cultural viewpoints and value systems. There are several key cultural perspectives on vaccination which include individual rights and public health stances towards vaccinations, religious views and vaccine objections and lastly suspicion and mistrust of vaccines among different global cultures and communities’ (‘Cultural Perspectives on Vaccination | History of Vaccines’, 2019). Public health stances and individual rights cause people of the public to want to protest for their rights not only to protect themselves but their children as well. This happens if the individual does not accept or believe the existing medical evidence about the safety of vaccines or in many other cases their own beliefs do not support vaccinations. Good public health policies can balance out both individual rights and the community needs. I believe that if health professionals recognized and respected the diverse of social and cultural differences of individuals and the perspectives towards the vaccination policies it would then help support their success and acceptance.
Anti-vaccination is one of the biggest public health concerns. Parent’s attitudes and behaviours about vaccines can impact a child’s life dramatically. Refusal of vaccinations has multiple factors, which include family lifestyle, perceptions about the child’s body and immune system, risks of disease, how efficient is vaccines, side effects, negative experiences with vaccinations and social environment. The successes of vaccinations programs help prevent disease and have decreased. However there have been outbreaks in a number of countries and the population immunity will be threatened if more children do not comply with vaccinations schedules. ‘A recent nationally representative immunisation survey suggests that approximately 40% of parents in the United States may delay or refuse vaccinations for their children’ (Browne, Thomson, Rockloff & Pennycook, 2019).In Australia there was a online survey that was conducted of Australian parents in 2012 that would determine the associations between the vaccination attitudes and behaviours. ‘The 452 applicants were parents of children aged 18yrs and older. 92% reported their child was vaccinated and up to date, 52% of the applicants has concerns about vaccines. The factors associated with the anti-vaccine included ‘disagreeing that vaccines are safe’ and ‘obtaining information from alternative health practitioners’. 83% of the applicants had gathered vaccination information from their general practitioner’ (Practitioners, 2019).
Parents that were in this type of category are more likely to hold a negative perspective towards vaccination. This is normally due to the fact of the lack and knowledge of understanding of how importance of vaccination. Vaccination acceptance may include the willingness to trust advice from health professionals and ones trust in evidence of vaccinations. These findings will results in the area of reasoning and decision making that individuals reasoning is motivated by social and emotional factors. From this information there is an understanding of the evidence around vaccination is a result of a sociological stance. General practitioners can play a big role in educating parents and helping them understand their reasons for approaching alternative health practitioners without being judgemental. It is suggested discipline health practitioners and organisations through current arrangements for those who promote false and misleading information about vaccination. Also financial incentives have been proven to improve childhood vaccination uptake. The majority of parents are compliant and have a strong support for vaccinations however more then half of parents had some concerns in regarding vaccination of their child. General practitioners are the most used source for information when it comes to vaccinations. So it is their role and duty to communicate well with the parents regarding their children’s vaccinations and providing clear, evidence based vaccine information to help guide parents in decision-making.
In conclusion vaccinations are beyond beneficial for preventions of diseases in the community. They enable the public with the ultimate quality of life. Vaccines increase life expectancy but also minimize the spread of disease. Medicare covers vaccinations for children so there is no reason for children to not be vaccinated and meets the needs to care for the weakest individuals in the community. Vaccinations reduces global child mortality by being accessible universal for safe vaccines of evidence based is a moral obligation for the community as it is a human right for every individual to have the ability to live a healthy happy life.