Vaccination policy refers to the health policy a government adopts in relation to vaccination. Vaccinations are voluntary in some countries and mandatory in some countries as part of the public health system. Some governments pay all or part of the costs of vaccinations for vaccines in a national vaccination schedule.
- 1 Goals of vaccination policies
- 2 Compulsory vaccination
- 3 Policies and history by country
- 4 See also
- 5 References
Goals of vaccination policies
Immunity and herd immunity
Vaccination policies aim to produce immunity to preventable diseases. Besides individual protection from getting ill, some vaccination policies also aim to provide the community as a whole with herd immunity. Herd immunity refers to the idea that the pathogen will have trouble spreading when a significant part of the population has immunity against it. This protects those unable to get the vaccine due to health reasons, such as age, allergies and having received an organ transplant.
Each year, vaccination averts between two to three million deaths, across all age groups, from diphtheria, tetanus, detritus, and measles. This is an extreme shift in disease prevention. These diseases used to be among the leading causes of death worldwide. But now, with modern medical technology, many of these deaths are able to be avoided.
Eradication of disease
With some vaccines, a goal of vaccination policies is to eradicate the disease - make it disappear from Earth altogether. The World Health Organization coordinated the global effort to eradicate smallpox globally. Victory is also claimed for getting rid of endemic measles, mumps and rubella in Finland. The last naturally occurring case of smallpox occurred in Somalia in 1977. In 1988, the governing body of WHO targeted polio for eradication by the year 2000, but didn't succeed. The next eradication target would most likely be measles, which has declined since the introduction of measles vaccination in 1963.
Individual versus group goals
Rational individuals will attempt to minimize the risk of illness, and will seek vaccination for themselves or their children if they perceive a high threat of disease and a low risk to vaccination. However, if a vaccination program successfully reduces the disease threat, it may reduce the perceived risk of disease enough so that an individual's optimal strategy is to encourage everyone but their family to be vaccinated, or (more generally) to refuse vaccination at coverage levels below those optimal for the community. For example, a 2003 study found that a bioterrorist attack using smallpox would result in conditions where voluntary vaccination would be unlikely to reach the optimum level for the U.S. as a whole, and a 2007 study found that severe influenza epidemics cannot be prevented by voluntary vaccination without offering certain incentives. Governments often allow exemptions to mandatory vaccination for religious or philosophical reasons, but if too many of these exemptions are granted, the resulting free rider problem may cause loss of herd immunity, substantially increasing risks even to vaccinated individuals.
To eliminate the risk of disease outbreaks, at various times governments and other institutions established policies requiring vaccination. For example, an 1853 law required universal vaccination against smallpox in England and Wales, with fines levied on people who did not comply. In the United States, the Supreme Court ruled in Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905) that states could compel vaccination for the common good. Contemporary U.S. policies usually require children receive vaccinations before entering school, although many states allow for religious and personal exemptions due to philosophical or health reasons. A few other countries also follow this practice. Compulsory vaccination greatly reduces infection rates for associated diseases. Beginning with nineteenth century early vaccination, these policies stirred resistance from a variety of groups, collectively called anti-vaccinationists, who objected on ethical, political, medical safety, religious, and other grounds. Common objections included claims of "excessive government intervention in personal matters" or that proposed vaccinations were not sufficiently safe. Many modern vaccination policies allow exemptions for people with compromised immune systems, allergies to vaccination components, or strongly held objections.
In 1904 in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, following an urban renewal program that displaced many poor, a government program of mandatory smallpox vaccination triggered the so-called Vaccine Revolt, several days of rioting with considerable property damage and a number of deaths.
Compulsory vaccination is a difficult policy issue, requiring authorities to balance public health with individual liberty:
"Vaccination is unique among de facto mandatory requirements in the modern era, requiring individuals to accept the injection of a medicine or medicinal agent into their bodies, and it has provoked a spirited opposition. This opposition began with the first vaccinations, has not ceased, and probably never will. From this realisation arises a difficult issue: how should the mainstream medical authorities approach the anti-vaccination movement? A passive reaction could be construed as endangering the health of society, whereas a heavy-handed approach can threaten the values of individual liberty and freedom of expression that we cherish."
Investigation of different types of vaccination policy finds strong evidence for the effectiveness of standing orders, allowing healthcare workers without prescription authority (such as nurses) to administer vaccines in defined circumstances; sufficient evidence for the effectiveness of requiring vaccinations before attending child care and school; and insufficient evidence to assess effectiveness of requiring vaccinations as a condition for hospital and other healthcare jobs.
Policies and history by country
|This section is incomplete. (October 2012)|
In 2006, the World Health Organization and UNICEF created the Global Immunization Vision and Strategy (GIVS). This organization created a ten-year strategy with four main goals:
- to immunize more people against more diseases
- to introduce a range of newly available vaccines and technologies
- to integrate other critical health interventions with immunization
- to manage vaccination programmes within the context of global interdependence
The Global Vaccination Action Plan was created by the World Health Organization and endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 2012. The plan which is set from 2011-2020 is intended to "strengthen routine immunization to meet vaccination coverage targets; accelerate control of vaccine-preventable diseases with polio eradication as the first milestone; introduce new and improved vaccines and spur research and development for the next generation of vaccines and technologies".
These global actions are telling to the progression of vaccinations. Living in a globalized world that is extremely connected, diseases that are preventable by vaccinations have become part of a larger public health movement: global herd immunity. These task forces and political campaigns that have erected in order to spread availability and knowledge of vaccination are modern attempts to protect the world from vaccination-preventable diseases.
In Australia, a massive increase in vaccination rates was observed when the federal government made certain benefits (such as the universal 'Family Allowance' welfare payments for parents of children) dependent upon vaccination compliance. As well, children were not allowed into school unless they were either vaccinated or their parents completed a statutory declaration refusing to immunize them, after discussion with a doctor, and other bureaucracy. (Similar school-entry vaccination regulations have been in place in some parts of Canada for several years.)
The government began the Immunise Australia Program to increase national immunization rates. They fund a number of different vaccinations for certain groups of people. The intent is to encourage the most at-risk populations to get vaccinated. The government's immunization schedule can be seen here: http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/provider/patients/acir/schedule.jsp
Republic of Ireland
In Malaysia, mass vaccination is practised in public schools. The vaccines may be administered by a school nurse or a team of other medical staff from outside the school. All the children in a given school year are vaccinated as a cohort. For example, children may receive the oral polio vaccine in Year One of primary school (about six or seven years of age), the BCG in Year Six, and the MMR in Form Three of secondary school. Therefore, most people have received their core vaccines by the time they finish secondary school.
According to the Canadian Medical Association:
Slovenia has one of the world’s most aggressive and comprehensive vaccination programs. Its program is mandatory for nine designated diseases. Within the first three months of life, infants must be vaccinated for tuberculosis, tetanus, polio, pertussis, and Haemophilus influenza type B. Within 18 months, vaccines are required for measles, mumps and rubella, and finally, before a child starts school, the child must be vaccinated for hepatitis B.
While a medical exemption request can be submitted to a committee, such an application for reasons of religion or conscience wouldn’t be acceptable, and isn’t allowed, says Alenka Kraigher, head of the communicable diseases and environmental health center at Slovenia’s National Institute of Public Health.
Failure to comply results in a fine and compliance rates top 95%, Kraigher says, adding that for nonmandatory vaccines, such as the one for human papilloma virus, coverage is below 50%.
Mandatory vaccination against measles was introduced in 1968 and since 19780, all children receive 2 doses of vaccine with a compliance rate of more than 95%. For TBE, the vaccination rate in 2007 was estimated to be 12.4% of the general population in 2007. For comparison in neighboring Austria, 87% of the population is vaccinated against TBE.
The South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre began in 2003 as an alliance between the South African Department of Health, vaccine industry, academic institutions and other stakeholders. SAIVC works with WHO and the South African National Department of Health to educate, do research, provide technical support, and advocate. They work to increase rates of vaccination in order to improve the nation's health.
According to the Canadian Medial Association:
Some nations, such as Latvia, say they have mandatory vaccination policies but contend that the notion of “mandatory” differs from that of other nations. “Vaccination is mandatory for state institutions and vaccination providers but for [the] public is recommended and offered free of charge,” Jurijs Perevoscikovs, head of the Epidemiological Safety and Public Health division of the Infectology Center of Latvia, writes in an email.
Vaccines that are not mandatory are not publicly funded, so the cost for those must be borne by parents or employers, she adds. Funded vaccinations include tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles, hepatitis B, human papilloma virus for 12-year-old girls, and tick-borne encephalitis until age 18 in endemic areas and for orphans.
Latvia also appears unique in that it compels health care providers to obtain the signatures of those who decline vaccination. Individuals have the right to refuse a vaccination, Perevoscikovs says. But if they do so, health providers have a duty to explain the health consequences and if the patient hasn’t been persuaded to change his mind, “the health care provider should draw up a refusal in writing which has to be confirmed with a signature by the person to be vaccinated.”
In the 2000s, public concern about the combined MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella, sparked by media coverage of controversial research linking it to autism, caused a significant drop in vaccinations and a rise in the incidence of these diseases. Prime Minister Tony Blair refused to confirm whether his children had received the vaccine.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices makes scientific recommendations which are generally followed by the federal government, state governments, and private health insurance companies.
States in the U.S. mandate immunization, or obtaining exemption, before children enroll in public school. Exemptions are typically for people who have compromised immune systems, allergies to the components used in vaccinations, or strongly held objections. All states but West Virginia and Mississippi allow religious exemptions, and twenty states allow parents to cite personal or philosophical objections. A widespread and growing number of parents falsely claim religious and philosophical beliefs to get vaccination exemptions, and an increasing number of disease outbreaks have come from communities where herd immunity was lost due to insufficient vaccination.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes the dilemma faced by many parents in that vaccines are a very safe and important health intervention, but are neither risk-free nor 100% effective. It advises physicians to respect the refusal of parents to vaccinate their child after adequate discussion, unless the child is put at significant risk of harm (e.g., during an epidemic, or after a deep and contaminated puncture wound); under such circumstances, the AAP states that parental refusal of immunization constitutes a form of medical neglect and should be reported to state child protective services agencies.
See Vaccination schedule for the vaccination schedule used in the United States.
Immunizations are often compulsory for military enlistment in the U.S.
All vaccines recommended by the U.S. government for its citizens are required for green card applicants. This requirement has stirred controversy when it applied to HPV vaccine because of the cost of the vaccine, and because the other thirteen required vaccines prevent diseases which are spread by a respiratory route and are considered highly contagious.
In the United States, school vaccination laws have played an instrumental role in the control of vaccine-preventable diseases. The first mandatory school vaccination requirement was enacted in the 1850s in Massachusetts to prevent the spread of small pox. The mandatory school vaccination requirement was decided after the implementation of the compulsory school attendance law. Mainly because it caused a rapid growth in children in public schools which would facilitate the spread of small pox. The early movement towards school vaccination laws began in the local level as they included counties, cities, and boards of education. By 1827, Boston had become the first city to mandate all children entering public schools to demonstrate evidence of vaccinations. In addition, in 1855 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had established their own statewide mandatory vaccination requirements for all students entering school. It would influence other states to implement similar statewide vaccination laws in schools as seen in New York in 1862, Pennsylvania in 1895, and Connecticut in 1872 and later to the Midwest, South and West of the US. By 1963, 20 states had school vaccination laws.
Yet, these school vaccination laws were not easily accepted by many and caused political debates throughout the United States. An example of this political turmoil and resistance was evident in Chicago in 1893 where less than 10 percent of the children were vaccinated regardless of the twelve year state law. Resistance was seen in the local level of the school district as some local boards and superintendents opposed the state vaccination laws which led to the enforcement of state board health inspectors to examine vaccination polices in schools. Resistance proceeded even during the mid-1900s and in 1977 a nationwide Childhood Immunization Initiative was developed to increase vaccination levels in children to 90% by 1979. During the two year period of observation, the initiative reviewed the immunization records of more than 28 million children and vaccinated children that needed to be vaccinated.
In 1922 the constitutionality of childhood vaccination would be examined in the Supreme Court case Zucht v. King. The court decided that a school could deny admission to children who failed to provide a certification of vaccination for the protection of the public health. In 1987, a measles epidemic occurred in Maricopa County, Arizona and another court case, Maricopa County Health Department vs. Harmon, would examine the arguments of an individuals right to education over the states need to protect against the spread of disease. The court decided that it is prudent to take action to combat the spread of disease by denying un-vaccinated children back to school until the risk for the spread of measles was confirmed.
Currently, in a push to eradicate Pertussis, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella, and Hepatitis B from the population, schools across the United States require an updated immunization record for all incoming and returning students. While all states require an immunization record, this does not mean that all students must get vaccinated. Opting out is a state-by-state law; some states allow parents to opt out for a variety of reasons, but all states do require an immunization record at schools.Some of the exemptions for opting out of vaccination is due to medical conditions that increase the risk of having an adverse health effect or reaction due to the vaccine. Other reasons consist of religious beliefs and personal philosophical opposition to mandatory vaccination. As of 2014, 48 states allow religious exemptions except for Mississippi and West Virginia and some states even require proof of religious membership.In addition, only 18 states allow personal philosophical opposition to vaccination as a form of exemption. Overall,there are ethical debates and objections to the required school vaccinations laws because of different religious or philosophical beliefs and the infringement on individual liberties still persist.
- US Centers for Disease Control, Ten Great Public Health Achievements - United States, 2001-2010. Accessed 10 April 2014.
- Canadian Public Health Association, History of Public Health: 12 Great Achievements. Accessed 10 April 2014.
- Fine PE, Clarkson JA (1986). "Individual versus public priorities in the determination of optimal vaccination policies". Am J Epidemiol 124 (6): 1012–20. PMID 3096132.
- Bauch CT, Galvani AP, Earn DJ (2003). "Group interest versus self-interest in smallpox vaccination policy". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100 (18): 10564–7. doi:10.1073/pnas.1731324100. PMC 193525. PMID 12920181.
- Vardavas R, Breban R, Blower S (2007). "Can Influenza Epidemics Be Prevented by Voluntary Vaccination?". PLoS Comput Biol 3 (5): e85. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030085. PMC 1864996. PMID 17480117.
- May T, Silverman RD (2005). "Free-riding, fairness and the rights of minority groups in exemption from mandatory childhood vaccination" (PDF). Hum Vaccin 1 (1): 12–5. PMID 17038833.
- Salmon DA, Teret SP, MacIntyre CR, Salisbury D, Burgess MA, Halsey NA (2006). "Compulsory vaccination and conscientious or philosophical exemptions: past, present, and future". Lancet 367 (9508): 436–42. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68144-0. PMID 16458770.
- Meade T (1989). "'Living worse and costing more': resistance and riot in Rio de Janeiro, 1890–1917". J Lat Am Stud 21 (2): 241–66. doi:10.1017/S0022216X00014784.
- Wolfe R, Sharp L (2002). "Anti-vaccinationists past and present". BMJ 325 (7361): 430–2. doi:10.1136/bmj.325.7361.430. PMC 1123944. PMID 12193361.
- Briss PA, Rodewald LE, Hinman AR (2000). "Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to improve vaccination coverage in children, adolescents, and adults" (PDF). Am J Prev Med 18 (1 Suppl): 97–140. doi:10.1016/S0749-3797(99)00118-X. PMID 10806982.
- Ndiaye SM, Hopkins DP, Shefer AM (2005). "Interventions to improve influenza, pneumococcal polysaccharide, and hepatitis B vaccination coverage among high-risk adults: a systematic review" (PDF). Am J Prev Med 28 (5 Suppl): 248–79. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2005.02.016. PMID 15894160.
- "Immunisations for children and young people". Retrieved 2012-09-05.
- Dr Sigrun Roesel; Dr Kaushik Banerjee. "School Immunization Programme in Malaysia".
- "Canadian Medical Association".
- "Mandatory measles vaccination – are healthcare workers really safe?".
- Irena Grmek Kosnik. "Success of the vaccination campaign in Slovenia".
- Ciolli A (2008). "Mandatory School Vaccinations: The Role of Tort Law". Yale J Biol Med 81 (3): 129–37. PMC 2553651. PMID 18827888.
- Diekema DS, American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Bioethics (2005). "Responding to parental refusals of immunization of children". Pediatrics 115 (5): 1428–31. doi:10.1542/peds.2005-0316. PMID 15867060.
- United States Department of Defense. "MilVax homepage". Retrieved 2007-07-25.
- Jordan M (2008-10-01). "Gardasil requirement for immigrants stirs backlash". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- Hodge, Jr; James G and Gostin; Lawrence O (2001). "School Vaccination Requirements: Historical, Social, and Legal Perspectives". Ky. LJ 90: 8331.
- Malone, Kevin M; Hinman, Alan R (2003). "The Public Health Imperative and Individual Rights". Law in Public Health Practice (Oxford University Press): 262–284.
- Hodge, James G. (2002). "School Vaccination Requirements: Legal and Social Perspectives". National Conference of State Legislatures.