Vaccination: “pros” and “cons”

Subject: Natural science
Summary: Students learn and discuss about vaccinations. Class watches a video and based on that makes notes about the pros and cons of vaccination. Class discussion and self-evaluation is also used.
Activity length: Duration is approximately 45 minutes.
  • Students will be able to explain convincingly why it is necessary to be vaccinated.
  • Students learn to differentiate between affirmative (pros) and negative (cons) arguments and learn to understand and notice them from a video.

Teacher prepares to demonstrate the video material about the benefits and risks of vaccination: Teacher prepares the individual handouts for students (see additional notes).

During the previous lesson students learned the history of the vaccines, they are able to understand how vaccines work.


Part 1: Introduction

  • Teacher asks students which vaccines/immunizations they have had, e.g. polio, TB or any other vaccinations.
  • Teacher reminds students that each type of microbe has an outer coating which is unique to them, but because some microbes change their outer coats so quickly it is difficult for scientists to make vaccines for these infections, or, like the flu vaccine, a new one has to be made each year.


  • Teacher announces the topic and objectives of the lesson

Part 2: Video

  • Teacher gives students copies of the handout and explains the task: watching the video, students have to fill in the arguments table.
  • Students watch the video “A Visit to Ashland, Oregon” and fill in the table. Teacher should do pauses so that students have time to write down arguments.
  • Teacher asks students to write down their own position on this issue and state advantages of their position.
  • Teacher asks students to share their views on vaccinations.

Part 3: Checking what students understood

Teacher checks for student understanding by discussing the points below:

  • Why is vaccination not only a personal health issue but also a public health issue?

Possible answer: Many infectious diseases are extremely contagious, we can vaccinate ourselves against the disease but other people who are not vaccinated can contract the disease and spread it further to unvaccinated people. If more people are vaccinated the disease is prevented from circulating. This is why herd immunity prevents epidemics. In today’s society where global travel is relatively cheap and easy, an infected person can carry a disease across the world within 24 hours.

  • What needs to be done to completely eliminate an infectious disease?

Possible answer: A vaccination program which reaches all target groups on a widespread continual basis is the only means to completely eliminate a disease. However, it is not possible to eliminate all diseases in this manner as some infectious diseases e.g. avian flu, have other reservoirs (places where they can live and multiply) outside humans.

Students complete the sentences on the other side of their handouts.

Students leave the handouts to their teacher.


Oral assessment

Additional notes:

My position and reflection:

Advantages of my position,

Today I learned …

I have been succesfful in …

I think that …