Pros and Cons of Immunization
Vaccination provides immunity against a particular disease and is considered one of mankind’s most outstanding medical achievements. Vaccines consist of weak versions of pathogens to stimulate antibodies to cause disease immunity, benefiting the patient. Due to vaccinations, diseases such as measles, tetanus, and polio, which were once extremely common, are rare now. According to the estimates, due to immunization, around 2 to 3 million deaths are prevented every year, and further million can be prevented if there is enough vaccine access to people. However, the usage and popularity of vaccination depend on the pros and cons of vaccines, and this is what this article primarily covers.
How Does Vaccine Work?
The way vaccines work is complex. Vaccines prepare a body’s immune system in order for the person to be able to fight against future ‘attacks’ by a disease. With the help of antibodies, the immune system tries to fight off a pathogen whenever it tries to enter the body. Depending on how successful the antibodies are to get rid of the pathogen, a person can escape from falling ill. In case they do get sick, the antibodies will recognize the pathogen in the future, and will be able to fight it off.
Because of this function of the immune system, the vaccine works. They’re made from a weakened, killed version of the pathogen that attacks you. When you get a vaccine (mostly done through an injection), it triggers your immune system to fight it off by making antibodies against it. As a result of this, you secure future immunity and don’t get sick. Due to the vaccine, immune cells are also able to remember the kind of antigens that cause diseases or infections.
Pros and Cons of Vaccines
Proponents of immunization assert that vaccines are safe and effective; however, the debate over vaccinations has prevailed throughout medical history. It is purely up to the individual to decide whether to use a vaccine or not.
Pros of Vaccines
As said above, immunization prevents us from diseases, but it also prevents the spread of diseases. Studies show for children to fight off against diseases, vaccines are necessary. It has various benefits. The most important is that it saves lives and reduces the death rate among children, and according to WHO, vaccines prevent 2 to 3 million deaths yearly. Polio is one example; this disease used to the most feared disease in the United States, but thanks to vaccination, there are no Polio reports in the country. In fact, Polio is currently active in only three countries in this world.
The effectiveness of most vaccines is immense. By getting the second injection of the MMR vaccine, 99.7% of the patients get immunity against measles. Because of this, the rate of measles fell by 86% worldwide between 2001 and 2016. The inactivated polio vaccination is 99% successful after obtaining three doses whereas the Varicella vaccine provides effectiveness between 85% and 90% for patients having varicella. On the other hand, it is 100% successful in preventing chickenpox that may be mild or severe. These studies prove that vaccines are an effective way to fight off diseases.
Even though science has proven to us multiple times that vaccines are here for our safety, many people are skeptical about them and refuse to be vaccinated. Still, the fact is, vaccines are created after a long and careful review by scientists and doctors. Even after proper testing, a vaccine is regularly monitored by the FDA and CDC for optimal safety. Vaccines may cause tenderness or pain, but this pain is incomparable to the pain and symptoms that a disease may cause. Moreover, severe allergic reactions following vaccination are very rare.
That being said, vaccines also protect future generations. Pregnant women who take vaccination protect their unborn children from congenital disabilities and other diseases that may arise if the mother doesn’t get herself vaccinated. Due to the herding community, that is, community members protected by immunization, chances of an outbreak of disease are reduced.
Among the pros and cons of vaccines, one benefit is getting vaccination leads to a healthier and safer society. However, people still feel they have the right to choose their way of life, even when it comes to their health. Feeling that they’re being robbed of their right, a large amount of the population is opposed to vaccination and wish to make their own decisions.
Cons of Vaccines
As stated by CDC, there is a life-threatening risk that nearly all vaccines carry in a form of an allergy. This usually occurs in one out a million children. Even though this risk is extremely low, it’s enough to create opposition against immunization. There have also been reported cases of long-term brain damage, seizures, and even come from the people who have taken MMR and DTaP vaccines. Moreover, vaccines may also be associated with asthma, autism, or diabetes, as noted by NVIC. However, enlightened governments that promote immunization also understand the adverse effects because they provide compensation and care for those affected.
Physicians believe thimerosal, a mercury compound in vaccines, can cause autism, whereas aluminum can lead to neurological damage. Vaccines as well as mandatory vaccination is opposed by some religious groups. Besides this, vaccines may contain elements that are unethical to some people. These include vaccines for chickenpox, IPV, DTaP, Hep A, RV, Hib, HPV, flu, and MMR that are made using animal products such as insect cells, bovine casein, chicken eggs, and African Green monkeys cells. Thus, these ingredients make such vaccines conflict with some vegetarian and vegan philosophies.
Additionally, many organizations believe a person is better off treated by natural immunity than vaccines, which are regarded as artificial immunity. It should also be noted that immunity from an illness comes after only a single infection, but vaccines’ immunity requires several dosages. Vaccines interfere with the natural process of immunity by releasing a potential pathogen and toxic ingredients into a human being’s bloodstream.
Sometimes vaccines are unnecessary as most of the diseases are relatively not as harmful, such as chickenpox and measles. These are only rashes usually accompanied by a mild fever. Likewise, Rubella Virus is also often just a rash with fever. While you can easily get rid of rotavirus with the help of probiotics and hydration. Because of these reasons, many people avoid vaccinations as, according to them, they’re not as important.
As said above in the pros and cons of vaccines section, undoubtedly, vaccination is a top health advancement that has helped immensely by averting severe health problems in children and adults. They give our immune system a much-needed boost to fight off a severe disease and help us have a safer community, but not everyone supports immunization. Many view it as pernicious to our health and find it hard to make vaccination a medical choice.