A Vaccine’s job is to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. Having said that, Vaccines do not cause you to become ill in order to develop these anti-bodies, unlike bacteria and viruses. There are two main types of vaccines. Active Vaccines and Passive Vaccines.
Vaccines are one of the best ways to save yourself and your children in particular from dangerous diseases. People all around the world vaccinate their children to protect them from any life threatening disease. For example in United States of America Vaccines programs have been quite successful in reducing the number of children affected by contagious diseases like rubella, measles, pumps, diphtheria and polio.
The article discusses about the ten reasons why vaccines should be mandatory.
10. Controls Diseases
Demolishing the disease completely is an ideal goal, however there has only been a single disease till today that has been completely eradicated. Smallpox was a threat to the entire global community, but with the help of proper vaccination program, the disease has been completely eliminated and there is no need of any further immunization anymore. Likewise, other infectious diseases can also be eliminated with the help of effective vaccination and with the availability of certain diagnostic tests. In order to eradicate a disease completely, a large group of people from every region of the worlds needs to get immunized over a long period of time with proper monitoring. Polio is the second disease that is targeted for eradication. It’s an uphill task as it is still a global issue; however the use of Oral polio vaccine has helped in eliminating type 2 poliovirus
The countries themselves can also take measure to eliminate the disease without global vaccination programs. In some World health organization regions, there has been an excellent progress in eliminating measles. The spread of virus is as good as over and is no longer a threat. The reason behind this success is the two dose vaccination program that immunized 95% of population. Combination of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine initially eliminate and later on, completely eradicate the presence of this disease.
- Controls complications
There is possibility that the people who are already vaccinated might catch a disease too. The cause of them catching a disease could primarily be due to the failure of a vaccine or secondary. In these situations the individuals who are infected have a lesser impact of the disease as oppose to the ones who are not vaccinated. A study of a cellular pertussis vaccine carried out by the Germans shows that when the people who were vaccinated caught whooping cough, had a shorter duration of chronic cough as compare to the people who were not vaccinated. Varicella caused only a few skin lesions, mild fever and slight complications than the people who were not vaccinated. As for rotavirus, here too, the intensity of the disease was very less in the individuals vaccinated.
The purpose of vaccines initially is to protect an individual from disease but it doesn’t always protect against the infection. However, there are a few vaccines out there that does both, Protect against and disease and also protects an individual from getting an infection. Hepatitis A vaccine has proved to be mighty effective in protecting from both, asymptomatic infections and symptomatic disease. Complete protection from persistent vaccine type infection has been shown for HPV vaccine.
- Prevents The Unvaccinated Population
The use of vaccines does not only protect the people who are vaccinated but it also helps reduce the diseases in individuals in the community who are not vaccinated through effects termed as either “Herd effects” or “indirect effects”. A study has shown that only less than 70% coverage of hib vaccine in Gambia was enough to kick out Hib disease. The similar kinds of findings were recorded in the population of Navajo. Another case of herd protection was In United states of America where the increase in vaccines coverage decreased the attack rate in the pre school kids faster than expected. These effects can also take place with diarrheal vaccines as has been done by cholera vaccine.
Herd protection in people who are not vaccinated happens when significant groups of people are immunized. The decline in disease happens a lot faster than the number of people getting vaccinated because Immunization stops the flow of an infectious agent by reducing the duration of pathogen yielded by the people vaccinated stopping it from spreading.
The rate of immunization to stop the disease from spreading solely depends on the amount of population. Diseases like Measles that are have a higher rate, needs higher coverage of vaccination in order for herd protection to take place, as oppose to the diseases are lower in rate like rubella hib or polio.
Due to herd protection, several diseases can be completely eliminated without 100 % immunization.
- The Concept Of Source Drying
There is a concept called source drying. This concept is pretty similar to herd protection. It means that if a certain group of people in a country or an area is identified with an infection. Vaccines made specifically for them will drastically decrease the disease in the entire population, for example in the town of Queensland, Australia. There were a large number of people infected with hepatitis A. Babies across Queensland were vaccinated with a follow up to 6 years, had a drastic impact on the whole of Queensland with numbers of hepatitis cases dropping dramatically in the entire Queensland. The same approach was implemented in prominent countries like United States of America.
The results obtained from source drying legitimize the vaccination of certain occupational groups like, food handlers in order to control diseases like typhoid or hepatitis A. People in contact with toddlers, for example parents, nurses, siblings, grandparents etc, should be given pertussis vaccine boosters to avoid any kind of transmission.
- Protects From Other Diseases
Getting vaccinated is extremely beneficial. Not only does it protect from diseases that it is suppose to protect from but also diseases related to it. For example in United States of America, Finland and several other countries, influenza vaccines also have remedy for kids with acute otitis. Besides that, Measles vaccines protect against several complications like, bacterial pneumonia, dysentery, keratomalacia and malnutrition.
Infections cause several cancers. For example chronic hepatitis B could lead to liver cancer. Vaccinating properly could prevent from getting suffering the consequences.
There is also hope for the reduction of cervical cancer cases with the help of HPV vaccines against serotypes sixteen and eighteen as the decrease in precancerous lesions has been shown in the people vaccinated. Surprisingly, 70% of the cervical cancer burden worldwide is due to serotypes 16 and 18. Cancer of any kind has taken lives on regular basis. It’s extremely dangerous and hard to treat once you are deeper in to it. It is better to be safe than sorry. Preventive measures therefore are very important. Getting vaccinated could help prevent an individual from developing cancer in his or her body. Like mentioned before, some vaccines might not be directly related to treating cancer but are indirectly involved by not letting the infections that develops cancer, grow inside our bodies.
- Advantages For The Society
Vaccination programs might require big investments initially, for example purchase vaccines, staffing etc, but in the long run they could actually help us pay back. For example, imagine the number of deaths caused by the diseases is a big loss. The people who died could have contributed to the economy and help it grow. Likewise, people in the hospitals, particularly government hospitals are in no condition to help the economy, in fact more and more patients could be a burden for a the government bear. Investing in the immunization programs will help prevent these people from coming to hospitals or dying and they can work towards the progress of the economy. The saving recorded with vaccines in 2003 were billions of US dollars. Malaria is causing sub Saharan Africa a loss of 100 billion dollars. However, there are several vaccines currently under development to avoid the loss.
A lot more could be save several antigens are put together in a single vaccine. There are a lot of benefits that combination vaccines could bring you, for example injection safety, compliance and coverage.
Vaccination programs as oppose to other public health related programs such as drinking water chlorination and wearing seat belt is a better investment and is a lot more cost effective.
- Safety Of Travelers
With travelers traveling all around the world, there is every chance of infectious diseases getting exposed to other countries. People from every corner of the world travel from places to places and transmit diseases to others, as it has been seen that Muslims pilgrims carry diseases like polio and meningococcal strains. The government of Saudi Arabia requires meningococcal ACWY and has recommended vaccines like hepatitis B and influenza for pilgrims.
The most common diseases observed in the travelers are influenza and hepatitis A. Other vaccines preventable diseases include hepatitis B, cholera, rabies, yellow fever, typhoid, measles, Japanese encephalitis etc. Vaccines can be taken according to an accelerated schedule to ensure protection upfront and therefore anyone willing to travel to other countries could travel without worrying about any health risk to himself and to the people around him.
In developing countries the issue of infectious diseases is yet to be resolved. People are dying because of the diseases and therefore vaccination programs are their top most priority. For example, Pakistan is still facing fighting polio. The government is trying its best to raise awareness through, commercials, newspapers and several other mediums to put an end to polio. WHO has asked the Pakistani government to take further actions on eliminating polio from the country.
- Controls Influenza
Influenza is a major concern for people all around the world. The influenza vaccines are therefore very important. Especially for people with a weak immune system, meaning people whose bodies find it hard to fight against the diseases. Also people suffering from heart diseases, asthma should get vaccinated because if they don’t, influenza can make matters worse for them.
Taking influenza serious is extremely important. Most of the families do not consider it a big threat to their children’s health, but the reality is far from it. Influenza is responsible for taking lives of many children in the United States alone. According to a survey it takes lives of about 100 kids per year and around 20,000 children gets admitted in hospitals just because of it. The surprising thing to learn here is that the half of children died due to influenza were up and running and in a healthy condition. It is so dangerous that it is among the top ten causes of deaths in the United States.
Children go places to places, outside to play, to their schools, and they do not really care about their hygiene. When he is at a playground or schools he is sharing with other kids, touching unhygienic things, drinking water that might be contaminated. This is perhaps the reason why every year children are a victim of influenza more than people from any other age group. You can’t be with them all the time to protect them but the vaccines can.
- Benefits You And Others
In order to protect your children from the life threatening diseases that vaccines can cure, get your children vaccinated within the initial months after their birth. This prevents the child from catching illness not only during his childhood but during his adulthood as well. The seriousness of a disease that can be protected by vaccines is a lot more in children. Newborn babies and young children taken to the doctors, often get all kinds of vaccinations recommended. There are certain states in the United States where children are not allowed to get admitted in school until they get a certain vaccine. The reason behind imposing this rule is because it does not only prevent that particular child from catching on a disease but also protects the other children in school around him from catching on these contagious diseases. Different states in United States have different rules when it comes to vaccination.
It is recommended in The U.S to give children certain types of vaccines with in the first 6 years after their birth. The timing plays an important part while vaccinating your children. There has been a lot of study on the schedule of immunization. It is important for parents to understand that they should not delay the vaccination of their child. There are vaccines that are more productive when given at a certain age or along with additional vaccines.
- Protects Us From The Bigger Danger
It is extremely important for us to keep on vaccinating. Even if the disease has reduced to 2 percent. It is important not to stop vaccinating because if we get complacent and stop the vaccination process, the few people who are infected have a life too, they will go out and spread the disease. Because these diseases are contagious they can transmit form one person to another and then we might have to start all over again.
Diseases like polio and diphtheria have gone down drastically in the United States as a result of vaccination programs, but the important question here is should they stop vaccinating since the disease is almost nonexistent. The answer to that is, if you take a boat out in the lake and there is a hole in it, by making the hole smaller and reducing the water from coming in, does not mean the water won’t come in anymore. Although, the water might not be coming in that heavily but sooner or later it will fill the entire boat. So, what’s important to understand here is you don’t need to make the hole smaller; instead you need to fill that hole completely so the water does not ever come inside.
Japan started a vaccination program in 1974 to counter pertussis, a type of cough. About 80 percent of Japanese kids were vaccinated and results were startling. That particular year, the whole of Japan only had 393 cases of pertussis and absolutely no deaths were recorded. Later on the vaccines became a bit infamous and were declared unnecessary and unsafe. In the year 1976, only 10 percent of newborn babies were vaccinated. In the following years the matter got really serious and in the year 1979 Japan had a major setback with the Pertussis killing more than 41 people and 13 thousand people suffered from whooping cough
Vaccination is necessary not just because we want to protect our children but also because we want children of other people and the upcoming generation to be save from the diseases. Smallpox was oncea threat to the children, but the right measures helped us eradicate the disease and it’s no longer a threat to us anymore. We don’t need to vaccinate our kids for small pox because it’s gone forever. It is important for us to realize that continuous vaccination can help us believe that diseases like meningitis and polio would not cause out children in anyway. Vaccination is a vital tool for eradicating the life threatening diseases that exist in our society.