VACCINATION

Vaccination is by far the surest way to prevent specific diseases in all ages. It is the process whereby drugs containing weakened or dead pathogens are administered, with the intent to prevent subsequent infections.

These drugs are known as vaccines, and are usually given in a form of an injectable shot. The body responds to a vaccine by stimulating immune cells to produce specialized blood proteins (antibodies).

These antibodies then destroy the pathogens  and instantly build a defence mechanism against it. Hence on subsequent exposure to these pathogens, individuals are protected from becoming sick. Also, upon vaccination a person is likely to become completely resistant to specific diseases. This process is known as immunization.

CONCERNS ABOUT VACCINATION

The thought of administering weakened, dead and sometimes toxins of pathogens into the body has raised concern in a lot of people worldwide.

This has given rise to a significant number of anti-vaccine movements. In addition, the myths surrounding vaccination has led to a decline of confidence in vaccines. One of the common myths links measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccination to autism in children; a myth which has been proven wrong by various studies.  A recent study conducted by John Hopkins Medicine suggests that, a number of parents refuse to immunize their children against the Human papillomavirus. They express concern that the vaccination promotes sexual immorality amongst the youth.

Vaccines are tested for their safety and quality by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are further recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) before deemed viable for use. Despite the presence of abundant proof and support from credible organizations, people still think vaccines are a danger to them.

According to the World Health Organization, 85% of children get vaccinated each year. Regardless, it is estimated that more than 300 million people die from vaccine-preventable disease each year, whereas 1.5 million children below 5 die due to lack of access.

TYPES OF VACCINES

There are different types of vaccines. Each type has a specific way of inducing the immune system to build a strong defence against pathogens.

  • Live-attenuated vaccines:

These vaccines contain weakened pathogens. They protect against  measles, mumps, rubella, yellow fever, chicken pox, smallpox.

  • Inactivated vaccines:  

These vaccines contain dead pathogens. They protect against hepatitis A, rabies, polio, flu.

  • Toxoid vaccines:

These vaccines contain toxins produced by the pathogens. They protect against tetanus, diphtheria.

  • Conjugate vaccines:

These vaccines contain specific segments of the pathogens . They protect against shingles, hepatitis B, pneumococcal diseases, whooping cough, meningococcal diseases, Human papillomavirus, Haemophilus influenzae type B.

Most of these vaccines are administered during infancy and childhood. Meanwhile,  persons who are vulnerable to certain diseases are also given vaccines.

These people include healthcare providers, pregnant women, travellers and people with medical conditions.  Due to the mutation ability of some pathogens, regular follow ups with the doctor are sometimes required to update vaccines.

Benefits Of  Vaccination.

Vaccines protect individuals, their family and their community at large, against dangerous diseases. Some disease are contagious and communicable.

As a result, it can be easily transmitted from person to person, either through bodily contact or carried by air, food or water. Therefore practicing good hygiene, as well as avoiding bodily contact does not necessarily protect one against all diseases.

By vaccinating, an individual is kept from being sick. By so doing, their family and community are protected from getting sick.

The benefits of vaccination include:

  • Protection against serious and fatal diseases
  • Safest way to prevent diseases
  • Boosts the body’s immunity by building a strong defence against future diseases

DANGERS OF VACCINATION

Just like any drug, vaccines present with certain side effects. These effects are mild and rarely cause serious damage.  The common side effects are:

  • Mild fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Pain, swelling, redness at the point of administration.

 

Some serious side effects could also occur as an allergic reaction or immune reaction. According to studies 1-2 out of a million people who are administered vaccines get allergic reactions.  This goes to explain how safe vaccines are.

With proper education and efficient vaccination awareness campaigns, the fear and distrust towards vaccination would be averted . If you have any concerns, kindly consult a healthcare professional because, prevention is always better than cure.

KEY POINTS

  • According to WHO, than 300 million people die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year.
  • Vaccination does not cause autism in children
  • Vaccines are not dangerous
  • Vaccination is the safest way to prevent diseases
  • Vaccines protect individuals, their family and their community at large.