Are Vaccines Worth the Trouble?


Ryan Weaver, Staff

Vaccines are one of the modern day Miracles-of-Science. The fact that you can get something injected into you, and be basically immune to diseases, is – and should be – mindblowing. However, there are some important downsides to vaccines, that I don’t feel as though people talk about enough. The first of which, one that everyone experiences – is that it hurts a lot. And while that may not sound like a big deal, the pain is enough to make someone not want to get the vaccines they need, which can be problematic considering the pain is definitely worth it in the end. But that doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable when your arm hurts for weeks on end, and you have to be careful about not hitting it with anything, or not sleeping on your side. It does hurt quite a bit, and sometimes certain vaccines might not even necessary. Some would say “better safe than sorry”, but some of the recommendations doctors make can be questionable sometimes. After all, why would a gay man need to get a vaccine for HPV? It’s a virus that can only be transferred to a male through a female. Or, why would someone with sickle cell anemia need to get a shot to prevent malaria. Perhaps they should have the option to opt out of it, or maybe doctors can give better explanations of what the viruses do and who they affect. Or maybe a doctor could just not recommend it at all. The problem with that is that it opens the door for prejudiced behavior, which is not a direction we want to be going in. It may be better if patients were given all the options, and chose from the list. But, then again, there is a reason doctors are doctors and other people aren’t. Normal people can’t possibly be expected to remember all the different medications, all the different diseases they treat, all the different symptoms of those diseases. It’s important for doctors to know all of this because the general populace doesn’t. It’s the doctor’s responsibility to recommend the vaccines and shots that are relevant to the person. However, many doctors have a tendency to take a “Safety First” policy, and will recommend shots that are irrelevant to the person on the very off chance that they’ll encounter the disease.


Another important downside to vaccines is that some people can have a dangerous reaction to them. Some people are allergic to certain components of vaccines or shots, a fairly common example being penicillin. Doctors already have to consider many things about their patients for what to use on them – why not add a few more? It saves people pain, it can sometimes prevent reactions to the vaccine, and it saves money, which can lower medical costs for many people. Again, the problem with this kind of sorting between people is that it opens the door for prejudice again, but honestly, I trust doctors. Perhaps it’s a bit naïve, but I’ve found that most doctors are concerned first and foremost about your health, so I believe the probability for discrimination is low. Another problem is that it increases the chance for mistakes to happen, but doctors have a database for patients for a reason – so they don’t have to remember their patients.

Alternative Opinions

We asked the student body of LMHS what they thought of this idea, and there was little true support for this suggestion. Nearly everyone interviewed said it was too close to discrimination, and opened the door for it to resurface. Plus, it was better to be safe than to be sorry – however low the chance of encountering the disease, if it isn’t 0% then it’s better to get the shot. However, there were some people who agreed with the idea in spite of that. They generally said that if a certain group exhibits behaviors often enough to not warrant receiving that shot, then it’s more efficient to just not use the shot on them. However, there must be sufficient evidence to support that this person also follows these behaviors common in their group – discriminating purely on a racial or association basis is artificial selection, and is unethical due to condemnation of groups of people.


Is there a change that must happen regarding shots and vaccinations? Do doctors need to more carefully consider their patients when determining what shots to give them? Should we stop vaccinating everything simply because there’s a minor chance for it to happen? And if so, is that even a better world to live in? Are there any alternatives to shots and vaccines that have not been considered? Perhaps there are, and perhaps they should be considered. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, but having more options to handle problems is always better than having only one.