Many ethical issues, problems, and questions can be derived from Tamara’s shots scenario. The main or central ethical issue derived from this scenario is “what should Tamara’s parents do about Tamara’s immunizations?”. The decision on whether or not to vaccinate Tamara is very cumbersome to Tamar’s parents. This has been contributed by the fact that Tamara’s older brother named Tom was diagnosed as being autistic shortly after he was vaccinated. Tamara’s parents strongly believe that vaccination shots given to Tom are responsible for Tom’s autism and thus refuse to have their other child Tamara vaccinated. On the other hand, pediatrician hired by Tamara’s parents is against this believe citing that there is no enough evidence linking the vaccinations Tom got to autism. Another ethical issue is whether Tamara’s parents should appeal for an immunization exemption from mandatory vaccinations citing medical reasons. This will be a difficult case for Tamara’s parent given the fact that Tamara’s doctor is against such exemption, which is making it very hard for Tamara’s family to qualify for such exemption.
The connection between autism and vaccinations is hard to establish. This is mainly contributed by many scientific explanations given against and for these connections. Those against idea that vaccinations are relate to autism say that vaccination have no side effects and that they have been in existence for over two hundred years. On the other hand, the group of people believing that vaccinations are connected to autism cites occurrences of detrimental effects, which have been linked to vaccinations. Furthermore, the decision whether or not Tamara should enroll in school without vaccinations is another ethical issue. Many laws stipulate that it is necessary for one to receive mandated vaccinations before enrolling in any school. It will be difficult for Tamara to continue with her education in a smooth manner due to many challenges posed by lack of vaccination. For instance, the school district clearly informed Tamara’s family that Tamara will not be allowed to attend school if vaccine –preventable disease emerges, even if immunization exemption had been granted to Tamara.
Vaccination is, “the medical administration of antigenic materials in order to stimulate body’s adaptive immunity to infectious diseases”. Vaccination is considered as the best and most effective means of preventing various infectious diseases. Despite their great success, mandated vaccinations are a controversial subject since their introduction more than two centuries ago. Proponents of mandated vaccinations point to many reductions in occurrences of some infectious diseases and conclude that all the benefits obtained by human race clearly outweigh any detrimental side effects, which may be experienced by one individual.
On the other hand, opponents of mandated vaccines point to various statistics, which show that vaccines are connected to certain ailments. Immunization has sparked many mixed reactions from various parties directly concerned with this issue. Many parents are on dilemma on whether or not their children should undergo all mandatory vaccinations as directed by their doctors or governments. This is due to their increasing number of cases linking vaccinations to various illnesses and even deaths that occur to persons who have undergone immunization. Governments all over the world have introduced mandatory vaccinations especially to children in order to prevent deaths resulting from vaccine preventable diseases such as tetanus, small pox, and whooping cough. However, there are a few exemptions to these mandated vaccinations for religious, philosophical, or medical reasons.
The decision on whether to vaccinate children lies on the parents of the children. Vaccinations shots are essential for both children and adults. As Blaylock laments, “vaccinations are solely designed to prevent against detrimental illnesses such as mumps, measles, hepatitis B, rubella, polio, tetanus, whooping cough, and diphtheria”. A human being body immune system helps to fight germs by producing effective substances to combat the germs. Once this has been achieved, the body immune system “recalls” the germs and is able to fight the germs again. Vaccines contain diverse germs, which have been killed or weakened. When vaccines are given to a healthy person, they trigger the body immune system to swiftly respond and thus create the required body immunity. Before introduction of vaccines, human beings became immune by first acquiring the diseases and surviving them. Thus, immunizations provide less risky and easier ways of becoming immune.
It is believed that children with compromised body immune systems are more susceptible to damages caused by vaccines. In addition, families that have a history of severe autoimmune disorders, the children from those families are at greater risks for vaccines injuries. There exist many stories of vaccine injuries especially to the children ranging from brain damage, death, strokes, loss of consciousness, and autism. These vaccine injuries stories provide vivid, harsh, and sad context for all stakeholders involved in immunizations programs. As Blaylock Posits, “The well-being of a community and children must be successfully gauged by more than high quality vaccination rates and decreased infection rates cause by certain list of pathogens”.
There exist many issues and potential solutions to the main or central ethical issue derived from this scenario is “what should Tamara’s parents do about Tamara’s immunizations?” Potential solutions to all confusion surrounding mandated vaccinations lie on all concerned stakeholders. The Governments should enlighten its citizens on the essence of the mandated vaccinations to avoid doubts and distrust many citizens are developing over these vaccinations by using various means such as mass media, seminars, and exhibitions. The medical practitioners should strive to explain the safety of mandated vaccination to parents. Intensive research should be carried out to determine any side effects that might be present. Lastly, parents should seek advice of experienced doctors to have their children diagnosed for any symptoms that might be aggravated by mandated vaccinations.
All the available potential solutions relevant to the main ethical issue in shots for Tamara scenario are very distinct and may have diverse ethical implications on all the stakeholders. Moral reasoning can be defined as a collective or individual practical reasoning about moral things an individual ought to do (Schmidtz 38). Inductive reasoning or inductive logic is a unique kind of moral reasoning, which evaluates inductive arguments. On the other hand, deductive reasoning is a reasoning that evaluates deductive arguments. Deductive arguments are many attempts, which show that a conclusion in an argument follows a set of hypothesis. The group opposing mandated vaccinations will use deductive moral reasoning to convince stakeholders against these vaccinations. For instance, by saying that all mandated vaccinations have had detrimental side effects on thousands of children, many parents will restrain from vaccinating their children by believing these reports .This will result in parents concluding that all mandated vaccinations are lethal thus increasing the number of people appealing for mandated vaccinations exemptions for their children. Inductive moral reasoning will be used by various stakeholders in a bid to explain their views on mandated vaccinations. For instance, proponents of mandated vaccination will cite specific case where an infectious disease was completely contained thanks to vaccinations. This will result in a conclusion that all vaccinations are very crucial in eliminating infectious diseases.
Diverse ethical theories and ethical principles are strong foundations of any ethical analysis, as they are the main viewpoints from which unique guidance is obtained along a unique pathway to major decision. Different ethical theories can be applied in order to reach a good solution of Tamara’s scenario central ethical issue. Ethical theories are paramount as they emphasize on diverse points such as following an individual’s duties to others and predicting the outcome to reach an ethically correct decision. Consequential theory provides a unique consequentiality standpoint which say that an act that is morally right is one that produces good outcome or consequences and often expressed using aphorism ‘The ends clearly justify the used means’ this can aid in reaching a solution. The utilitarian theory is based on ones abilities to predict all the consequences of an action. The choice that yields most benefits to most people is the ethically correct choice. Rule utilitarianism takes into account the state law and is wholly concerned with fairness. It is based on principle of beneficence, which guides the rule utilitarianism to do right thing to benefit most of the population. It is also based on ethical principle of justice, which advocates reaching for a solution through the most just and fairest means. Tamara’s parent should adhere to the law and have Tamara vaccinated for the benefit of most students as this will aid in eliminating spread of infectious diseases.
Deontological ethical theory is also paramount in this scenario. The theory states that individuals should adhere to all their duties and obligations when analyzing any ethical dilemma. This implies that an individual will strictly follow her or his obligations to another member of the society, as upholding ones obligations and duties is what is regarded as ethically correct. The ethical principle of Least Harm used in this theory as one should seek not to harm people he or she owes duty or obligation. In addition, the ethical principle of Respect for Autonomy is upheld in this theory as it is believed that every person should be allowed to reign over themselves and make their own decisions that apply to their own lives and those they care for. Tamara’s parents have duty of deciding what is best for Tamara and thus they have all the right to either refuse or allow Tamara’s vaccination.
The wisest and most ethical decision that Tamara’s parents should make concerning their child is to have Tamara vaccinated. This is because vaccinations will prevent many infectious diseases not only to Tamara but to other people especially students Tamara will be attending school with. This is best solution since vaccinations have been proofed to prevent many infectious diseases from spreading by making individual who are vaccinated immune to these diseases. Using the Rule utilitarianism theory one should adhere to the vaccination as they provide many benefits to the public by inhibiting infectious disease.
One might object my decision citing there is enough evidence linking vaccination to various ailments especially in children. Furthermore, future predictions the mandated vaccinations will provide many benefits to majority of population used will be challenged as there is no certainty that these prediction as will be true. The decision does not recognize and even allow existence of heroes or of supererogation. This is because individuals are obligated to behave so that majority of population benefits regardless of many dangers associated with certain act.
Extensive research was done before introduction of mandated vaccination involving all stakeholders, which resulted in a conclusion that benefits accrued from these vaccinations are many and cannot be ignored. In addition, mandated vaccinations are very effective in eliminating infectious diseases. For instance, Polio was a fatal disease, which resulted in thousands of deaths especially in children but since introduction of vaccination against polio, these deaths have drastically reduced.
Many lessons can be learnt when analyzing this scenario. One lesson learnt is how to use logical moral reasoning to make crucial decisions that could determine the destiny of our lives. Furthermore, lessons on how to come up with best solutions when confronted by many option to a certain important ethical issue have also been gained. Many people rush to solve various problems in their lives, which result in making bad decisions. Critical thinking and extensive research should be done prior to making any major decision on a central ethical issue thus improving on the process of problem solving.