The public controversy surrounding measles epidemic in Arizona and California has involved famous politicians with their differing arguments. This has left many questions that encompass the need for the vaccination of all children with a few exceptions, the safety of vaccines, and whether parents have a choice when rejecting vaccines, an option that could put the lives of children in danger. The public controversy and politicization of this health care issue has been detrimental with scholars and health professionals warning that it is hazardous to make vaccination a political issue (Roy, Priyanka, Goel, & Rasania, 2015). Similar, past public health controversies regarding vaccination disclose that the effect of the politicization could be difficult to reverse since it could weaken public confidence in caregivers and public health professionals.
The politicization of health care issues enhances people to depend on their political inclinations as they sway their approaches on the matter. In this occurrence, the effect on the perceptions and views of the people could be harmful. Even more troublesome is the disclosure of such issues regarding political conflict to other people in the society that were not initially aware, which results in decreased support and confidence in the immunization programs. The people that only knew of medical affirmations regarding the public health concern did not have wary responses, but once they heard of the newly disclosed politicization about it, their support for vaccination greatly reduced (Roy et al., 2015). Public controversy leads to the impact of perplexing vaccine-doubtful parents through overstatement of the actual magnitude of the anti-vaccination movement and offering them motivation to consider that selecting whether to vaccinate their children or not is a significant hullabaloo entitled to debate.
The economic impacts of such controversies could encompass lawyers that obtain high compensation, professional witnesses that are hired to offer testimony and give evidence in conferences, and costs incurred while trying complementary and alternative medicines, which turn unsuccessful and costly (Lillvis, Kirkland, & Frick, 2014). Cultural perspectives and views regarding vaccination and reinforced by public controversies encompass liberal and spiritual oppositions, in addition to vaccine distrusts, and indicate the necessity for enhanced communication and partnership involving the public, caregivers, and other public health professionals concerning suitable and successful vaccination programs.
There are many ethical and legal dilemmas that nursing professionals face when health care issues are politicized (Roy et al., 2015). For instance, attributable to the rapid developments in health practices and expertise, nurses, as well as other caregivers, normally encounter challenges in decision-making where the court and legislators have not set up regulations for new processes and practices. Therefore, caregivers require exercising prudence in their decisions to avoid the risks of legal charges. Moreover, caregivers should mull over the ethical insinuations and decisions to make sure that their endeavors are in the best interest and do not cause harm. Ethical dilemmas could arise due to objections of vaccination emanating from politicization of the health issue. In a bid to protect as many people as possible, public health vaccine laws could be compelled to violate the autonomy and freedom of the people. Dilemma arises when people become determined to exercise their rights through rejecting vaccination when the politicization makes them rebuff health and safety information.
Public health professionals have to recognize and respect diverse social and cultural views regarding vaccination programs to enhance their effectiveness and reception (Roy et al., 2015). Finally, for the benefit of public health and interests, politicians should avoid contentious statements and evade the politicization of public health issues to prevent the public from taking matters such as vaccination as political affairs where they should take sides.
Lillvis, D. F., Kirkland, A., & Frick, A. (2014). Power and persuasion in the vaccine debates: An analysis of political efforts and outcomes in the United States, 1998‐2012. Milbank Quarterly, 92(3), 475-508.
Roy, P., Priyanka, V., Goel, M. K., & Rasania, S. K. (2015). Measles eradication: Issues, strategies, and challenges. Journal of Communicable Diseases, 46(3), 25-28.