Immunization is a serious health investment that must be considered carefully. Vaccines do save lives, but they’re not without risks. But, how important are vaccines and do the benefits outweigh the risks?
Before discussing the risks and benefits of vaccines, it’s essential to understand what vaccines are and how they work. A microbe is an extremely tiny life form. The term microbe refers to any living thing with external anatomy. Microbes can take the form of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other types of microorganisms. Some bacteria don’t require oxygen for survival. These bacteria are called pneumococcus, streptococcus, influenza, and every type of microbial organism that causes sickness in the human body.
Since the immune system develops during childhood, most vaccines are required to be administered during this time. Although there’s some controversy surrounding the need for childhood vaccines, many scientists believe that young immunity helps to ward off the possibility of developing serious illnesses caused by bacteria in the future.
Some vaccines help to protect adults from serious diseases, like measles and hepatitis, while others are used to prevent children from contracting diseases such as diphtheria and pertussis. In addition, some vaccines help to stimulate the immune system in adults, while others help to prevent the development of cancer after an individual has reached the age of diagnosis.
How are Vaccines Developed?
Vaccine development begins by selecting a microbe that’s harmful to the intended target population. Next, a weakened form of this microbe is introduced into the body of individuals to create an adverse reaction in humans. The weakened microbe is then harvested, and the remainder of the vaccine is created in the lab.
During vaccination, the antigen is introduced into the body through inoculation. When the antigen reaches the lining of the mucous membrane in the small intestines, the immune system then fights the microbe. Individuals who are given the vaccine are monitored constantly to ensure that they aren’t experiencing adverse side effects.
Risks of Vaccination
Vaccines have been one of the world’s most successful and important health breakthroughs. However, many people are concerned about the risks of vaccination, and whether or not they’re beneficial to the immune systems of humans.
The purpose and safety of vaccines have always been topics for discussion. There are reports that the flu vaccine is associated with the onset of Guillain-Barré Syndrome or GBS. Although GBS is quite rare, the following are known side effects of vaccination:
- Mild symptoms of vaccination include redness or soreness at and around the injection site, as well as low-grade fever. These symptoms aren’t serious, but may cause discomfort, especially in young children. The doctor may prescribe medications to relieve the fever and a cold compress to reduce the swelling.
- In some cases, some vaccine recipients may experience allergic reactions to the drug. Vaccines are pharmaceutical products, and like any other prescription medication, may cause adverse side effects. Doctors and healthcare facilities are trained to handle any immediate allergic reaction to the vaccine. Patients who experience symptoms several hours or a few days after the immunization should report as soon as possible to their physician.
- Different vaccines have different side effects, but the symptoms will still vary from individual to individual. Some research suggests that the higher level of mercury or thiomersal in the vaccines is linked to autism, but studies remain inconclusive.
Proponents point to the benefits vaccines offer to individuals and families. Are vaccines the best way to prevent certain diseases? Here are the reasons to get vaccinated:
- Prevents serious diseases: Vaccines are developed to keep people healthier by protecting their bodies from serious diseases that would otherwise be impossible or challenging to treat. The most important of these is the tetanus vaccine, given as a series of three shots beginning in the early months of life. Other vaccines include the vaccines against measles, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, and rotavirus. Many vaccines have been added to the menu since the 1970s, including vaccines to combat malaria, dengue, and, most recently, COVID-19.
- Avoids severe complications: Getting vaccinated doesn’t mean you’re 100% protected from diseases. While there are vaccines developed that have eradicated certain diseases, like smallpox and polio, some vaccines protect the body but don’t make it immune to the illness. Complications from the flu virus, for example, can lead to sinus infections and bacterial pneumonia. This is the reason why flu shots are still given every year.
- Boosts the immune system: A balanced diet and active lifestyle may be enough to keep you generally healthy, but it doesn’t mean you’re completely safe from deadly diseases. Vaccines help the immune system build a strong defense against different kinds of illnesses.
- Stops the spread of diseases: Immunization will not only benefit the person receiving the vaccine, but the community they belong to as well. Vaccines are developed to prevent disease outbreaks and even eradicate life-threatening illnesses. When you get vaccinated, you’re not only protecting yourself, but also the people around you.
How To Reduce The Risks Of Vaccination
Most vaccines are considered safe, but mild symptoms may still occur as the general reaction of the body to the antigen. There are several ways to minimize the risks of inoculation, such as:
- Always make sure to consult with a physician before vaccination to ensure that you’re a good candidate for the vaccine. Some people with underlying health problems or weakened immune systems can’t be vaccinated.
- There’s so much information that you can research on the Internet about vaccines. If you’re not familiar with the benefits of vaccines, it’s always wise to seek the advice of a qualified medical professional if you have any hesitations. They’ll be able to inform you about the importance of vaccines and how they are crucial to your health.
- In general, the rarer the vaccine, the more the risk of experiencing side effects. But, this shouldn’t prevent you from receiving vaccines. Vaccine injury lawsuits have been filed against vaccine manufacturers, but you should first reach out to a personal injury lawyer if you believe there has been some form of medical negligence that resulted in your injuries.
Each type of vaccine has its own set of risks and side effects, so you should discuss possible vaccine risks with your doctor. The benefits of vaccination outweigh the disadvantages of inoculation. Vaccines are medical breakthroughs designed to resist illnesses and stop the spread of diseases. Boost your immunity by getting vaccinated now and do your share in protecting your community.