Vaccines, in early 1800s, arrived on the medical scene heralded as the latest medical wizardry, capable of saving lives of millions of people from the deadliest of horrific, untreatable and cruel diseases.
Coined by Edward Jenner, the term vaccine refers to biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular disease, so as to prevent the disease-causing micro-organism from effectively inhabiting the subject’s body.In spite of being the primary reason for eradication of a number of deadly diseases, the general public is massively under-informed about this revolutionary direction of treatment.
Here are six facts about vaccines, more likely than not to be news to a fair few.
Vaccination at birth secures children from a plethora of diseases the infant’s immune system couldn’t possibly battle; decreasing infant mortality rates in many susceptible and sensitive parts of the world. In addition to this, common vaccines like the ones for tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis, papillomavirus and more such have decreased the chances of people contracting such diseases which often used to prove untreatable.
And one of them doesn’t even affect humans! The only thorough eradication in history of medicine has been smallpox (last case-1977). Nevertheless, this statistic mustn’t question the credibility of the vaccination; numerous diseases have been brought under control via vaccination- polio, guinea worm disease, plague etc. for instance. Vaccination ensures fewer people are susceptible to diseases and thus enabling places with limited facilities to treat the indisposed effectively.
Smallpox, now eradicated, has killed over 500 million people worldwide over the last century. Source: James Gathany Content via en.wikipedia.org
Measles vaccines reduced measles deaths globally by 78% between 2000 and 2008. In sub-Saharan Africa, deaths dropped by 92% in the same period. Use of Salk’s Polio vaccine has resulted in 86% eradication of the disease worldwide between 1948 and 2013. Similar statistics for a number of other diseases are privy to this method’s effectiveness.
Vaccination isn’t very common yet in remote rural areas of many developing countries. These countries must take steps to cooperate and provide financial backing to medical agencies carrying out vaccinations with effective implementations. An option is to take a leaf out of India’s book- providing door-to-door vaccinations against polio, even at the most rural levels. India successfully eliminated polio in 2014.
Over 1 million infants and young children die every year from pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhoea, primarily in rural areas of the world. Source: James Gathany via en.wikipedia.org
In the rarest of cases, the inoculation sample might not be perfectly sterile or may not be ideal for the procedure. Errors can be made in the procedure, and the vaccine provided might even be root for a deeper set disease or complication. While a certain error percentage can be accounted for, the risks of vaccination, though minimal, are solid. One can’t think oneself out of danger simply because they have been vaccinated against the disease; proper health, nutrition and first aid are necessary.
According to the allegations published in the medical journal The Lancet in 1998, the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) was linked to autism spectrum disorders. The controversy was afloat for about for about 12 years, before being rejected with evidence, and was in fact dismissed as one of the most damaging hoaxes in recent times. Check out this CDC page (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) for more information.
Undeniably a medical marvel, vaccination often is not given the credit it deserves for safeguarding millions of people per year. It is always advisable to provide all people, especially newborn children with essential vaccines.The government and medical institutions must spread awareness about the benefits of vaccination and strive towards eliminating as many diseases as possible in the near future.