Immunization through vaccination is one of the biggest breakthroughs in modern medicine. Its success in reducing disease, disability, and death has been nothing short of astounding. The numbers cannot be disproved.
An article published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), U.S. National Library of Medicine website reveals that immunization of children against nine vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States have resulted in “all of the diseases [being reduced] by more than 90% and many have either been eliminated or reductions of 99% or more have been achieved.”
In fact, as the article also mentions, a vaccine made it possible to completely eradicate smallpox, while vaccines are also responsible for the near eradication of polio.
These huge achievements make the ever-growing anti-vax propaganda more tragic. It is too easy to be influenced by misinformation, these days, and it takes a lot of work to be well-informed. But when it comes to your child’s health, it is your responsibility to arm yourself with the correct information.
How does immunization work?
Immunization through vaccines simply triggers the immune system’s natural function when a foreign invader attacks the body – to fight it off and remember it in case it attacks again. Vaccines trigger immune reaction by introducing inactivated or weakened germs into the body, and thereby building immunity to these specific germs.
Prior to the development of vaccines, the body’s immunity to certain diseases was built the hard way – by getting sick and surviving the illness. Immunization through vaccines has made the process quicker and safer.
Why would you willingly expose your child to the germs in vaccines?
The anti-vax movement’s main attack strategy is based on a 1998 paper, authored by Andrew Wakefield and 11 others, which linked the MMR vaccine to the onset of autism spectrum disorders in 12 children based on their case histories. This claim was later retracted by 10 of Wakefield’s co-authors, and numerous subsequent studies have not found any link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
Many parents also have “vaccine hesitancy” because they are afraid of the risks of giving their children inactivated or weakened germs. This fear is understandable given that most of these parents do not fully grasp that vaccines are designed to safely introduce these germs into the body – the germs’ inactivated or weakened state renders them relatively harmless.
Again, the success of vaccination programs around the world cannot be denied. Immunizing children at the appropriate ages effectively protect them from certain childhood diseases before they are exposed to them. Certain vaccines also work when given after exposure. When symptoms of the vaccine-preventable disease still occur, the disease is, more often than not, in its mildest form.
Reasons to immunize your child:
- The World Health Organization has stated that “vaccines are far safer than therapeutic medicines.”
- Just as numbers prove the extremely high success rates of vaccines, numbers also prove that reduced vaccinations among children result in higher incidences of a disease or the re-emergence of previously eradicated diseases.
- According to a report by the WHO, “In the USA, there has been a 99% decrease in incidence for the nine diseases for which vaccines have been recommended for decades, accompanied by a similar decline in mortality and disease [complications].”
- Vaccines can protect both the immunized and the unimmunized through “herd protection,” which occurs when the immunized group effectively and significantly reduces the incidence of a disease by reducing the spread of the pathogen among the entire group.
- Vaccines also effectively protect an individual against the complications – oftentimes, other more serious diseases – that usually arise from the targeted disease.
“Better an ounce of prevention than a pound of cure” – this medical tenet nicely sums up the great and many benefits of immunization. When in doubt – when you have worries and concerns – about preventive care for your child, seek advice from your family medicine doctor and arm yourself with the right information so you can make well-informed decisions. Contact a HOMA primary care physician now and learn more about safeguarding your child’s health.