August 4, 2019
Why we should vaccinate ourselves
Vaccines have been around since the late 18th century with the first vaccine being developed from the cowpox sores of milkmaids by Edward Jenner; in 1796 the newly created vaccine was used on a small boy in London who later became immune to a disease similar to cowpox, this disease was smallpox which ravaged the people during the time. Since then, there have been countless vaccines that have been developed which has further helped immunize the population. Although vaccines have helped to stop massive outbreaks of diseases and have even aided in eradicating some of them, recently there has been a backlash in vaccines with a group of the public claiming that the negative effects of vaccines vastly outweighs the contributions of immunization vaccines provide. Some have claimed that vaccines cause autism or other life changing conditions however, this simply is not true. Vaccines are an important part of society which have largely contributed to the increase in life expectancy world wide, allows for us to be safe from diseases which our ancestors would once perish against, and helps prevent the spread of the diseases to those who can’t be vaccinated or their immune systems are vulnerable to such illnesses. The issue isn’t on whether people should have the choice to vaccinate their kids and themselves or not, but rather the issue is how some of the public is misinformed on the benefits of vaccines, their side effects, and whether vaccines really do cause things like autism which then leads to people not wanting to vaccinate their loved ones, themselves included thus leaving a population exposed to a potential health crisis which may have been easily avoided had they been correctly informed on this matter.
All states in the United States of America require some vaccines in order to attend public schools with the only exceptions being if your religion does not allow it or in some states if it goes against your culture and political belief. In the recent years, “Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, we have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. Since 2010, there have been between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States and about 10 to 20 babies, many of which were too young to be fully vaccinated, died each year ( U.S. department of health and human services).” The United States department of health and human services have said that there still are a large number of children that die each year due to lack of vaccination. If they have concluded this statistic simply from the babies who were too young to be fully vaccinated, then we can imagine just how many deaths also occur from children of a young age which aren’t vaccinated for whatever the reason may be who also fall victim to such diseases and succumb to death. While vaccines aren’t a cure all kind of miracle, they do help the body create an immunization to the disease that is in the vaccine. The way the vaccines do this is by taking a strand of a dead or severely weak virus and inject it into the body, once it is in the body, white blood cells begin to engulf the virus. As it is engulfed and broken down by lysosomes, antibodies are created as a defense mechanism against that disease or virus, these antibodies are specific to that virus and then rush in to combat the threat next time the virus enters the body. Not everyone has a normal reaction to the vaccines however, some people may have allergic reactions to these vaccines which can pose as a serious threat to their health. Interestingly, this doesn’t mean that there are not ways that they can boost their immune systems against viruses.
One of the most curious things about immunization is the fact that not everyone has to be vaccinated in order to become immune against diseases, Another very effective strategy to keeping the spread of diseases under control that work directly and indirectly at the same time with vaccinations is called herd immunization. Herd immunization is the process of immunizing part of the population indirectly due to the majority of the population having been vaccinated or building up an immunization towards diseases. By having the majority of the population immune to a set of viruses, their bodies weaken those viruses that they are immune to in their own bodies and when they spread those actual viruses, they spread very weak forms of the virus essentially creating a vaccine in their own bodies which is then administered either through contact with other people or through the air and other means of travel the virus may undertake. This significantly helps the part of the population that cannot get vaccinated due to allergic reactions as well as those who cannot vaccinate themselves because of religious purposes. Here is the problem however, as long as we stigmatize vaccines and keep ourselves ignorant on how vaccines work and their side effects, our effectiveness of herd immunization and individual immunization drops significantly. So long as we keep spreading false rumors such as how vaccines cause autism which has no statistically significant evidence demonstrating that there is a correlation between the two factors, we cannot gain to benefit from this knowledge (See image towards the end of paper to see a visual representation of herd immunization). As terrible as it may sounds, the truth is that if the majority of people if not all of them who can vaccinate themselves choose not to then we will see the death rates rise due to infectious diseases and illnesses. Picture this, you have two sons one of them has been vaccinated for the smallpox disease and the other one has not, for this hypothetical situation, a smallpox outbreak has occurred in the city where you live. Both of your sons seem fine at first but then the unvaccinated one begins to form blemishes and bumps across his entire body, his face and arms now begin to look like a field of patches and his skin looks like sand paper. He then begins to fall deathly ill with a high fever, his body weakening and he slowly begins to die until one day, he perishes. This could have been avoided had h been vaccinated, while this is an extreme case, it is real threat. After all, smallpox was once thought to have been eradicated but over the years , it seems to be lurking back towards life, this is why it is up to us to make the stand and help protect everyone in the world against such cruel diseases by simply vaccinating as many people in the population as we possibly can.
Vaccination have log aided in the fight to boost our immune systems and cure humans from diseases. Millions of vaccines have been used around the world causing society to have a greater life expectancy on a global scale than once was previously expected. As we have seen an increase in adults who do not wish to vaccinate themselves and their children, so we too have seen an increase in the diseases that we once thought we had defeated or backed into a corner never to ravage the streets again. Due to this correlation as well as the evidence showing how important vaccines are in keeping us healthy, it is clear that they are crucial in helping ourselves and our children stop diseases.
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Serres, Gaston De, et al. “Influenza Vaccination of Healthcare Workers: Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Benefit Underpinning Policies of Enforcement.” Plos One, vol. 12, no. 1, 2017, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163586.
“Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children?” ProConorg Headlines, vaccines.procon.org/.