There is a great deal of misunderstanding about vaccines, their role in public health, and the myths that circulate about them. Here, we will explore how vaccines work, the importance of herd immunity, and why vaccines are one of the most important tools in the arsenal of public health. Whether you’re looking for job opportunities in the medical field on Fusion Marketplace or you’re just interested in the topic, there’s a lot to learn about vaccines and their importance.
What are vaccines?
Vaccines are created using dead or weakened viruses, bacteria, or pieces of them. When a person is vaccinated, they are exposed to this “immunization agent”. This exposure allows the body to produce immunity against the virus, bacteria, or piece of it.
The next time the person is exposed to the virus, they may already have immunity and will not get sick. Healthcare professionals can administer vaccines through a shot, a nasal spray, or an oral vaccine.
Someone studying for their public health bachelors online would likely learn about the history of vaccines. The first vaccine was created in 1796 by Edward Jenner. Jenner observed that milkmaids who had contracted cowpox did not get sick with smallpox, which was a much more deadly disease. He hypothesized that exposure to cowpox would protect people from smallpox. To test his theory, Jenner injected an 8-year-old boy with cowpox and then exposed him to smallpox. The boy did not get sick.
What is the impact of vaccines?
Since Jenner’s discovery, vaccines have been responsible for eradicating some of the deadliest diseases in human history, including smallpox. Herd immunity is one of the most important reasons that vaccines are so important for public health. Herd immunity is the idea that if a large enough percentage of the population is vaccinated, it will protect those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or who have not developed immunity.
For example, in the United States, the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963. By 2000, the measles vaccine had reduced the number of cases by 99%. However, in recent years there has been a resurgence of measles cases, in part because of the anti-vaccine movement. In 2018, there were 372 confirmed cases of measles in the United States, the highest number in 25 years. If herd immunity is not maintained, diseases that have been largely eradicated can come back, as we are seeing with measles.
There are many reasons to get vaccinated, but here are just a few:
Vaccines are effective.
Vaccines are one of the most effective ways to prevent disease. They have helped to eradicate diseases such as smallpox and have drastically reduced the incidence of diseases such as polio. In fact, vaccines are so effective that some diseases, such as measles, are now seen only in rare cases.
Vaccines are safe.
There is a great deal of misinformation out there about vaccines. Some people believe that vaccines are unsafe and ineffective. This is simply not true. Vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccines are tested for safety before they are ever made available to the public. Thousands of people are vaccinated each year and serious side effects are very rare.
Vaccines protect those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
If you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, you rely on those around you to be vaccinated in order to protect yourself from disease. Vaccines are one of the most important advances in public health, and have saved millions of lives. They protect those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
There are many reasons why someone might not be able to be vaccinated. Some people have health conditions that make it unsafe for them to receive a vaccine. Others might be too young to be vaccinated. Some people might not be able to receive a vaccine because of a religious or personal belief.
Vaccines are one of the most important tools in the arsenal of public health. By getting vaccinated, you are helping to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the public at large.