Vaccines: Get Them!
Kaitlyn Geiger (11 AM) Micro wants to warn everyone about the importance of vaccination in modern public health. You can see my opinion on the importance of vaccination here, find out about the origins of artificially induced passive immunity in a Bit-o-history piece here, see me diss a major national political candidate here, and see me go on a rant that culminated in some off-color language about vaccination here! A little something for everyone. Here’s Kaitlyn’s summary:
Every year people are vaccinated for deadly diseases. While some may run to the clinic for every shot they can get their hands on, you’ll find more and more people shrugging their shoulders and avoiding the trip at all costs. Yes most of these people just hate shots, but lately many feel that they don’t need them. And, because many vaccines come with side effects, people would rather avoid the hassle for something they don’t think will affect them. Dr. Lamberts, MD feels that, “Many of the diseases that vaccines can now prevent are so rare that people don’t take them seriously” (2012). However, there is a problem with many of these “rare” diseases re-emerging due to the lack of vaccinations in the population. Although many of these people may not become severely ill with the virus or disease they avoided getting vaccinated for, they are putting others at extreme risk. As we all know, everyone’s immune system operates differently. We have seen this in the case of transient microbiota. One person may carry a pathogen and go unharmed, but it may affect others such as children and the immunocompromised, where the outcome could be fatal.
Dr. Lamberts discusses the example of the polio virus which we have not seen now for many decades. Around the time of the major outbreaks of polio, sanitation and the use of sewers became common. Prior to these cleanly practices, people were constantly exposed to polio in minute amounts that left them unaffected because their bodies built up a tolerance to it through their adaptive immune system. However, the use of sanitation allowed microbial antagonism to take over, allowing the polio virus to do some serious damage. The solution was not to eliminate sanitation, but to get vaccinated. Due to the years and years of vaccinations for severe disease causing viruses and bacteria like polio, Hepatitis B, Pertussis, and other main vaccinations at birth (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008), we have been able to practically eliminate many harmful diseases from the population. Although this is a fantastic leap for medicine, people today think that because they haven’t seen these diseases, they don’t need vaccinated. Because these diseases are no longer seen as a threat, parents have also avoided getting their children vaccinated because of the side effects, as mentioned before. Many of these children go throughout life without any problems; however, these children may affect other, younger children who have yet to be vaccinated. If people don’t start to take vaccinations more seriously, they put themselves and others at extreme risk and we may start to see some of these diseases re-emerging with a vengeance. Taking preventative measures in medicine is a primary factor in controlling the spread of disease. Although no one really enjoys getting a shot, the moral of the story is to get vaccinated, not only for yourself, but for others so that we may continue the prevention of deadly viruses and disease.