Many people wonder about the safety of vaccines, how they work and why people are so passionate about them.
Vaccines work by injecting a dead or inactivated particle of a virus or bacteria that you want the body to recognize in the future. When the immune system comes across the particle in the vaccine, it makes cells to fight that disease if the body comes across it again in the future. Sometimes the same vaccine is given a second or third time to make sure the body recognizes the virus or bacteria that cause the diseases we are trying to prevent.
There are people who worry about reactions from vaccines and they have raised concerns about the side effects or long-term effects of injecting someone with these inactivated particles. The Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration study the vaccines and any adverse events are reported to the vaccine adverse reporting system. If there is a scare about a vaccine causing any issues in children or adults, they will pull it off the market and have done so in the past. Any vaccine now on the market has gone through vigorous testing before being allowed to be given.
Immunizations have already made a tremendous difference in the world. Many diseases have been eradicated from the Unites States and many parts of the world. Vaccines also decrease hospital admissions for both adults and children. Many childhood diseases that used to cause hospital admissions and death have been almost eliminated in the United States due to our vaccine program. The influenza vaccine has reduced the death rate and the rate of hospitalizations in both children and adults.
Many parents will ask questions about why their child must be immunized against diseases that are no longer a threat if they live in the United States. International travel would be the reason to immunize. Many parts of the world to do not have the same vaccine requirements. Travelers from other countries may unwittingly bring the diseases into this country.
Traveling outside our nation is another reason to become familiar with vaccines. Before traveling to another country, the CDC recommends you check its website or visit your doctor to ask their opinion on any vaccines that are available before you go. Many diseases present in different parts of the world have vaccines that we don’t regularly give in the United States. A quick shot before you go can prevent a hospitalization overseas or stop you from bringing that disease back to the states and spreading it to others here.
For all the negative publicity that vaccines sometimes get, they are instrumental in saving lives and stopping many diseases from spreading. Getting a vaccine will become important in helping us stop the spread of diseases not only in our country but across the world. As we become a global society, vaccines play an important part in global citizenship.
Lisa Casey, Family Medicine Mercy Health.