Don’t Wait, Just Vaccinate

Researchers: Anna Carrig, Sam Powell, Paul Garcia, Mackenzie Miller, TC Craig- Gray, Karen Rodriguez.

Introduction to research: Many people in our very own city have been diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as measles, HPV, diphtheria, pertussis, mumps, rotavirus, influenza, and many others. Illnesses such as these can cause devastating symptoms and in a lot of cases, death. These diseases are in most cases very contagious and especially in children, can be easily spread. Luckily, doctors have created something to aid the human body in building an immunity to defend itself from these types of diseases. Vaccines were created to enter one’s immune system as a foreign invader, causing the body to build antibodies to fight off any alike germs. The miraculous discovery of vaccines have saved a large number of lives. A large controversy has arose regarding unvaccinated children in the United States. Access to vaccinations and the choice to vaccinate is very dependent on the social, economic, and religious status of people in Countries where they are available. This study will take a closer look at the role sociology plays in the decision to vaccinate in Omaha, NE. Specifically looking at the percentage of unvaccinated children in different socio- economic area of Omaha to understand the contentious issues surrounding this topic. This study will use Douglas County Health data, Omaha World Herald, blogs, census bureau statistics to retrieve information on this topic.

Methodology: Using information from Douglas County Health data, Omaha World Herald, blogs, and census bureau statistics the study examined closer into the sociological impact on decisions regarding vaccinations in the city of Omaha. This study has brought about articles, pamphlets,
and flyers from health offices in Omaha to add to the research. After collecting and analyzing the secondary data, the study was able to pull out the most prevalent themes, which would help us better code the data. Through the process of organizing the data into various charts, the study constructed a well-researched paper to present about the role sociology plays in the decision to vaccinate in Omaha, NE.


Education: Upon gathering research regarding vaccinations it was easy to find a lot of information about the education provided about them in Omaha. In pamphlets and handouts the study accumulated from physician’s offices in Omaha, the study showed that there is a lot of education about the science regarding the vaccinations. Health care providers give a lot of information out about these vaccinations to assure parents vaccinating their children is the safest and healthiest option for their child. Contrary to initial belief, Omaha provides knowledge many parents require knowing in terms of safety, effectiveness, precautions, and side-effects of these vaccinations. Initially the concern that with the ongoing debate, of whether or not vaccinations are necessary to be administered in childhood, that sociological aspects would play a large part in the advertisement of necessity they have. Continuing into the research further, it was easy to conclude that while sociological aspects do play a role in the availability of some vaccinations in cases, education doesn’t vary based on these factors. Health educators are very good at projecting the scientific education the public needs to know about immunizations. A common theme the study displayed through the research is education of vaccinations was parents seeking information they lacked before being presented the choice to vaccinate their child. The Journal of Health Communications says, “The major factor within this theme was child protection motivation (i.e., parents feel responsible to protect the health of their child at all times and to do
what they consider best for their child’s benefit)” (871). Not only are parents very concerned with the health and well-being of their children, but they would feel responsible if something were to go wrong, and they made that decision without the proper education. It can be difficult for parents to find trustworthy websites to retain information about these immunizations, let alone time to find them. It is important for the public, that no matter the sociological status, the scientific education is presented to everyone, so they have the knowledge and time to make an educated decision about their child’s health. Omaha’s health care offices provide many different resources to provide information about prevalent diseases and the vaccinations to protect against them. Things such as campaigns, public booths, and advertisements could add ways people could receive education. The Journal of Health Communication also says, Parents perceived a lack of information and felt insecure about the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine. This may result in feeling ambivalent toward HPV vaccination, which may lead to postponing decisions about uptake. To facilitate informed decision making, campaigns should provide clear information on the advantages and disadvantages of HPV vaccination. (876) People are showing their interest in educating themselves and resolve a large issue surrounding vaccinations in childhood, so it is necessary now more than ever, Omaha steps up in providing the facts.

Demographics: Gathering this research regarding vaccinations showed quite a bit of information on demographics, most of this information found in pamphlets and handouts gathered from an Omaha Physician’s office. In this particular area research found that VSD (Vaccine Safety Datalink), performed a comparison of demographic characteristics between the two populations
the US and VSD. The VSD population is representative of the general US population on several key demographic and socioeconomic variables. Switching over to the Meningitis B studies. This study has founded that 16 to 23-yearolds are at risk for this disease. The Meningitis B vaccination is administered to 16 to 23-yearolds although it is preferred at ages 16-18. The “CDC” (Centers for disease control and prevention) recommends Meningitis B vaccinations for persons 10 and older in certain groups who are at risk for Meningitis B disease. Research has shown in a pamphlet about the annual flu vaccination that it is recommended for everyone six months of age and older, children nine or younger who are getting vaccinated will be required two doses of flu vaccines spaced at least twenty-eight days apart. According to a pamphlet on “Diphtheria and the Vaccine (Shot) to Prevent It”, that was last updated in 2014, a child will need one does of the DTap shot at the ages of 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 through 18 months, and 4 through 6 years of age. The DTap shot prevents a child from diphtheria, a potentially serious disease. This shot can also protect a child from tetanus and whooping cough.
Measles-mumps-rubella shot also known as MMR is a 2 dose shot given to children for protection. The first dose is administered at 12-15 months of life. The second one is given between the 4th and 6th year of life. If a parent decides to travel abroad with their children, the first dose should then be given 6-11 months of age before traveling. Another pamphlet used to provide more information about demographics of vaccinations was titled “Chickenpox and the Vaccine (Shot) to Prevent It”. This research stated that “doctors recommend that your child gen two doses of the chickenpox shot for best protection.” The first
dose is given 12 through 15 months of age and the second is given when the child is 4-6 years old. Rotavirus a 2 to 3 dose oral medication that is administered starting at the age of 2 months. Children are at higher risk of catching this disease if not provided the correct vaccine to prevent it.

Statistics: Upon conducting the research, the research aided the discovery of various examples and statistical data towards combating illnesses through immunization and vaccination shots. The Douglas County Health Department, as well as the 55th medical group of Offutt Air Force base clinic has provided numerous sources and data towards the statistical rating of individuals receiving vaccinations for specific diseases within the metropolitan area alone. The various diseases listed ranged from Measles, Hepatitis B, Polio and Diphtheria. The statistical rating for various vaccinations had been listed, as Diphtheria provides the highest rating of 93.4% of immunization towards children from ages 19-35 months old. Measles provided a rating of 91.1%, while both Hepatitis B and Chicken Pox had provided a rating of 90.5% to 90.6% towards their 3 dose immunization routine for children every 6-8 months of the year. However, illnesses such as Polio has noticed a drastic drop in vaccination rates, from 91.9 to 87% in the metropolitan area. This statistical finding can only be the result of recent controversial events involving the refusal of vaccination in children by parents and guardians as shown throughout recent news. The Vaccination survey conducted every 3 years, starting at the beginning of August, has shown examples of this decline as parents are beginning to refuse vaccination in the metropolitan area as well. This door to door survey provides a statistical analyst of which household has vaccinated their children for both the Douglas County Health Department and the state of Nebraska alone. The survey serves the purpose of helping improve vaccination rate by
discovering areas of wealth, health care availability, household demographic and level of education for the individual, in hopes of improving areas who fail to provide vaccinations for their children as well as reasons why.

Availability: Although the US is a world power, our immunizations say the opposite. There has been a decrease in our immunization records, that is getting alarming. But the issue doesn’t seem to be associated with the availability of immunizations rather it seems to be misinformation to the public. Vaccinations are available at any clinic in the US some even offered at churches or stores. All insurances cover or make affordable recommended vaccines. Medicare, for example, covers vaccines at little or no cost for the people. However, the cost may vary on how much coverage Medicare is providing and if the doctor accepts this type o insurance. Medicare Part B covers vaccines that protect against: Flu, Hepatitis B, and Pneumococcal disease. Part D covers: Shingles, Tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. Medicaid, on the other hand, covers all recommended vaccines for children and some for adults as well. Although there can be a fee or a copay depending on the state or on the doctor that gave the service (How). Military insurance or also known as TRICARE covers all the recommended vaccines for the people in service and for their family (those who are being supported financially). Even those who don’t have insurance can also get help to get vaccines free or little cost. The Vaccines for Children Program provides all the recommended vaccines for children under 19 years of age. The requisites for this are: are Native American or Alaskan Native, qualify for Medicaid, or don’t have insurance or can’t pay out of pocket insurance price. Those who don’t have the requisites for this program can go to federally funded health centers that offer vaccines and could offer sliding fees based on the person’s income or go to their state health department that can
direct you to a community center, school or religious center where they are offering vaccines for free or a cost in your price range (How). There is an immunization clinic located in 1111 south 41st St. (East of 42nd and Pacific street). They offer free immunization to children up to 18 years of age who are uninsured, is Medicaid eligible or Native American/ Alaskan Native. Also offer free immunization to adults 19+ who are uninsured or underinsured (User). There are many ways people can get the recommended vaccinations free or in their price range. The only issue is that people are not informed where they can get this help. However, some people who know about where to get vaccinated still choose not to vaccinate themselves and/or their kids. This is due to being misinformed by what they see on the internet or what they heard from someone else. They start questioning if getting vaccinated is what is best. There needs to be a bigger encouragement to inform people about vaccinations so they understand what they are putting into their bodies. There can be many misconceptions on the internet that can lead to ridiculous theories about vaccinations. Be informed, ask a doctor or a nurse for the information you need. If someone is embarrassed to ask, they can still get a pamphlet at the clinic that provides information on vaccines and how they work, what are the side effects, and if they are safe. The information is made easy to understand, and in some clinics, they even include them in Spanish. Talk to your doctor about any question you might have. Get informed. No question is too silly and all can be answered by a healthcare provider.

Analysis: If anyone is going to look further into the problem of having non-immunized children among children with vaccinations, they need to propose that there is a probable solution. Bringing this topic to Omaha specifically and taking a deeper look at how the city brings education, awareness, statistics, and availability to all demographics is important to the change made to people’s health. Understanding the way society will respond to policies about their
health/ the health of their children, and how they will make decisions based on socio-economic factors is important to conducting research based upon vaccinations. The study looked closely at how availability to vaccinations and demographics played a role in receiving proper medicines and concluded that meeting the medical needs of everyone in a community, despite their socioeconomic status is necessary. Incorporating ways to put parents at ease and push for stronger communication of the scientific knowledge regarding the vaccinations their children receive. This could ultimately change the feelings many may have towards immunizations.

Conclusion: Nearly 3 million lives are lost every year to vaccine-preventable diseases. There’s no scientific supported study that backs the anti-vaccination perspective. Modern medicine has spent many years working on the discovery of these vaccinations that could be the solution to saving humanity from these life-threatening diseases. The study concluded that sociology makes a huge impact in why parents aren’t vaccinating their kids. If Omaha can begin to use the diversity in sociological aspects to project the necessity of vaccinations, it will begin a ripple in a bigger movement across the nation. The number of people not vaccinating their children is increasing. Since sociology plays a huge role in whether parents choose to vaccinate their kids, it’s important that sociology also contributes to the spread of the truth about vaccinations


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