Vaccinations are one of the most important medical advances of our time. They have helped to eradicate some of the most deadly diseases in history, and continue to protect millions of people from disease every year.
The immune system is our body’s natural defense against infection. When we are vaccinated, our bodies create immunity to the disease without having to experience the sickness itself. This is because vaccinations introduce a “dead” or “modified” form of the virus into our system, which prompts our immune system to create antibodies to fight it off.
As well as protecting us from disease, vaccines also help to protect those who are unable to be vaccinated, such as young babies and pregnant women. This is because when the majority of people in a community are vaccinated, it creates what is known as “herd immunity”. This means that there is less chance of the disease spreading, as there are fewer people who are susceptible to it.
Vaccinations are safe and effective, and have been used for centuries to protect against diseases such as smallpox, polio, and measles. Today, there are vaccines available for a wide range of diseases, including chickenpox, HPV, and influenza.
The benefits of vaccinations far outweigh any risks, and they are an important part of keeping ourselves and our communities healthy.
Is vaccination merely a weapon in the fight against communicable diseases, or does it operate as a toxic potion of potentially deadly preservatives? You are free to choose.
While vaccines are primarily designed to prevent disease, they do not always guarantee immunity from infection; nevertheless, vaccinations have been shown to be an efficient method of improving health and has saved millions of lives. For the nine ailments for which vaccines have been recommended since decades, there has been a 99 percent decrease in incidence in the United States.
The advantages of vaccinations are not only immunological. There is also an economic incentive for being vaccinated: it costs less to vaccinate than to treat the disease. For example, in 2014, it was estimated that vaccination against influenza saved $3.2 billion in direct and indirect costs in the United States.
Vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies without causing the actual disease. The body then builds immunity (resistance) to the disease. When you are exposed to the real disease, your immune system can recognize it and fight it off before you get sick.
Immunization with vaccines protects individuals by providing them with immunity similar to that produced by infection but without its attendant risks and consequences. It also protects people who cannot be vaccinated, including infants too young to be vaccinated and those with weakened immune systems. When more people are vaccinated against a disease, it becomes harder for the disease to spread because there is less opportunity for it to circulate. This is known as herd immunity.
There is currently a lot of controversy in the scientific community about whether or not thimerosal causes Autism. In July 1999, the CDC released this statement on their website: “The Public Health Service agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine producers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated from vaccines as a precautionary measure,” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP))
However, further research found that thimerosal was not the cause of Autism. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) completed a study in 2004 that looked at eight different vaccines and their possible side effects. The IOM found “the evidence is inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship between thimerosal–containing vaccines and autism”, (IOM). In other words, they could not say for certain if thimerosal caused autism or not. However, they did find that there was no link between the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine and autism.
So what does cause autism? We don’t know for sure but there are some theories out there. Some scientists believe that it could be caused by a combination of genes and environmental factors. Other scientists believe that it could be caused by problems during pregnancy or delivery, (Autism Speaks).
We do know that vaccinations can help prevent serious diseases. Vaccinations work by protecting people from diseases. They work by injecting a person with a “dead” or “modified” form of the virus. As that person’s immune system fights off the dead virus, the immune system is also preparing to fight the live, or actual, virus. So, if you are ever exposed to the disease, your immune system is primed and ready to fight it off, (U.S. Food and Drug Administration).
Vaccinations are not just for kids. Adults need them too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Adults aged 19 years or older should receive a booster dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine if they did not receive it as an adolescent and if they have not previously received a dose of Tdap”, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The CDC also recommends that adults aged 65 years or older should get the shingles vaccine.
Vaccinations are important because they help protect us from serious diseases. They also help protect those who cannot be vaccinated, such as infants and people with weakened immune systems. When more people are vaccinated, it helps create what is called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity is when a sufficient percentage of a population is vaccinated and the disease cannot spread easily from person to person because there are not enough people for it to infect, (Herd Immunity).
The bottom line is that vaccinations are important. They help protect us from serious diseases and they help protect those who cannot be vaccinated. If you have any questions about vaccinations, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.
If you do a search on the Internet for vaccinations, you will discover far more information about the dangers of vaccines than about their benefits. The antivaccination movement has posed a threat to public health not just in the United States, but also around the world. There is no question that vaccines are an effective instrument for both personal and societal health.
Vaccinations work by protecting people from diseases. Vaccines contain a “dead” or “modified” form of the virus, bacteria, or toxoid that causes the disease. As that person is exposed to the vaccine, their immune system recognizes the pathogen as something foreign. The immune system then produces antibodies to the vaccine, which remain in the body and provide immunity or protection against future infections with that particular disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends vaccinations for more than two-dozen diseases, including polio, measles, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).
Immunizations are not just for kids. Many adults need booster shots, or additional doses of vaccines, to stay protected. For example, the tetanus vaccine wears off over time and people need a booster shot every 10 years to maintain their immunity.
Vaccinations not only protect the person who is vaccinated, but also helps to create “herd immunity”. Herd immunity occurs when a critical portion of a population is immune to an infectious disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. Even people who are unable to be vaccinated (such as cancer patients and those with weakened immune systems) can benefit from herd immunity.
Herd immunity is important because there are always a few people who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons and because no vaccine is 100% effective. If enough people are vaccinated, the entire community is less likely to be affected by an outbreak.
Vaccinations have contributed to the control of many devastating infectious diseases, such as polio, smallpox, and measles. In the United States alone, vaccines prevent an estimated 42,000 deaths and 20 million hospitalizations each year.
A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that childhood vaccinations will prevent more than 400 million illnesses and could save nearly $14 billion in direct costs over the course of a child’s lifetime.
The benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the risks, and everyone should be vaccinated to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.