Funny you should mention that, Kathy. I'm a pharmacist and I do vaccinate my child and myself. And I do believe there is a role for pharmaceuticals in society. But I'm not really a fan of drugs in general, do feel they're overprescribed (driven by many factors) and would really like to see more cures for diseases (rather than just having them be managed with pills) as well as more focus on ways of managing a disease using lifestyle methods. Incidentally, we did learn about non-pharmacological approaches to disease management in pharmacy school, so we are not schooled solely in the drugs themselves.
There is also a class issue here. If their kid gets a VPD, middle-class professionals are more likely to be able to take off work without getting fired and bear any financial penalty from the time off than is a single mom working the fryer at Burger King. Or in a family that can afford to have one SAH parent, it's not an issue. The idea of kids being vaccinated so their parents don't have to miss work sounds repugnant to some people, but depending on the consequences for the parent missing work, it may be better than the alternative. Similarly, it's a lot easier to control diabetes with diet and exercise when you have time to join a gym and can afford a membership, or live in a neighborhood where you feel you can jog safely without getting mugged, and have a car you can use to drive to a supermarket that has healthy food that you can afford to buy. These resources may be beyond the reach of some socioeconomic groups, and at least medication is a resource they can access.
You bring up some very interesting and valid points.
But nobody should be required to vaccinate their children (or any other invasive procedure) in order to increase convenience for others. I agree that that sucks for those who can't afford to miss work. But the bottom line is, parents should have a choice as to what risks they are or are not willing to take with their children's health. It's not right to ask parents to play Russian Roulette with their children's health by risking an adverse reaction to a vaccine that may or may not prevent a minor-but-inconvenient illness for someone else.
We don't require moms to breastfeed, even though that clearly reduces both the number and the severity of most illnesses. We allow moms to make that choice. We also don't legally require or even recommend that ill people to wear masks in public, or that sick people (including doctors and nurses) stay home from work. In fact, most companies have very limited sick leave. We allow people to make their own choices about whether or not they leave their home when sick, and infect people.
Seems to me that the answers to our societal problems in dealing with illness of self or child and work are not found in vaccines, which cause such serious problems for a small subgroup. The answers lie in changing the policies and attitudes in our society.