Why vaccines are important?
Vaccinations and Potable water have been the 2 greatest public health achievements in the last century.
When we get sick, our immune systems recognize the bacteria or viruses causing the disease and produce antibodies. These antibodies remain in our blood as memory cells and if there were to be a slightest chance of getting the same infection, these antibodies would recognize and quickly destroy foreign bacteria or viruses before they have a chance to invade further and cause sickness.
The role of a vaccine is to introduce a weakened or dead organism so that our immune system can create antibodies without getting sick in the first place. Getting vaccinated and getting sick produce the same antibodies for each disease; vaccines simply prevent us from having to experience the disease in the first place. This is especially important for diseases with high mortality that our bodies cannot cope with.If vast majority were to be immunized against a certain organism, then it would lead to a Herd immunity.
We have been able to eradicate deadly diseases like small pox and polio from the face of the earth.
As with any medicine, vaccines do come with side effects. But as compared to the serious symptoms of the vaccine preventable diseases, these side effects are generally mild.
Vaccine scare and anti vaccine movement started in the USA and UK why back in the 1990s. The Anti vaccine movement uses a lot of fear-mongering and scare tactics to frighten parents into not vaccinating their children.
A study published by Wakefield et al in 1998 revealed the link between MMR vaccine and autism. This however has been refuted by several studies done in the last 2 decades. Thimerosal a mercury based agent known to be used in vaccines was also associated with similar side effects though not proven. Thimerosal is no longer used in most childhood vaccines, though some forms of influenza vaccine available in multi-dose vials may contain the preservative.
In a bid to increase awareness there are a lot of websites which give authentic information like the cdc.gov , historyofvaccines.org etc
Vaccines help in reducing the morbidity and mortality in the infancy and early years and provide a safe childhood and future.