Often while arguing about vaccinations, anti-vaxxers bring up many arguments that illustrate how little several people understand the science of vaccines. From claims of autism to exaggerations of vaccine side effects, there are several faults with the anti-vax movement.
One of the extremely startling arguments typically made is the following: "Even if I disagree with the science of it, vaccinating myself or my child is my decision to make, so there's no need to criticize me or make vaccination necessary by law."
Yes, you technically have the physical choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate — but you aren't deciding the health of only you or your child, you're deciding the health of potentially thousands.
If you check the news, there have been several outbreaks of dangerous diseases, all previously considered eradicated in the US thanks to vaccinations. In Washington, the governor declared a state of emergency a few days ago due to a measles outbreak. Nationwide, the CDC declared 2018 the second worst year of measles outbreak and deaths since the year 2000 and attributed it to parents refusing to vaccinate their kids with the MMR vaccine. Additionally, outbreaks of whooping cough are recorded recently, and you can guess why.
Situations like these are the reason why vaccinating isn't just choosing the health of you or your child. "Herd immunity" (meaning high rates of disease prevention by vaccination in a community) is what prevents outbreaks from occurring. Large populations being vaccinated drops the likelihood of such diseases spreading, so your vaccination counts towards an entire community's health.
Because of increased vaccination (and thus increased herd immunity), the flu shot safely made the 2017-2018 flu season one of the most healthy flu seasons of recent times.
Even if hypothetically everybody but you vaccinated in your community, you are susceptible to the disease. And if you catch it, the disease now has the opportunity to mutate, which could mean all vaccinated people around you are no longer immune and an outbreak begins.
Infants, elders, cancer patients, and those with specific allergies all rely on herd immunity for their health. Maybe you are of the right age and health to fight off the flu or even go outdoors with it, but someone allergic to flu shot additives would be in the hospital for weeks or months, potentially picking up pneumonia or other illnesses as a result.
So, to the anti-vaxxers or skeptics reading, even if not for your/your child's sake, keep updated on vaccinations. Without high rates of herd immunity, there are real consequences of sickness and death.