Introduction: What are vaccines and how do they work?
The administration of vaccines is called a vaccination or immunization. Vaccines are injections that produce immunity against disease. In the 21st century, immunizations are our saving grace because they are the most effective method of preventing the outbreak of diseases. The human body has three different defense systems. Our first defense system and most important is our skin. Our skin acts as a barrier to prevent bacteria and viruses from the outside world form entering into our body. When our first defense system fails, our non-specific defenses or second defense system begins by secreting mucus, raising our body temperature, producing digestive acid, and swelling. Last but not least, our third defense system or specific defense is our last resort. This particular defense system is more commonly known as immune system. The immune system works by recognizing an antigen which is a foreign body and producing a specific antibody to attack and kill the antigen. This is where vaccines come into play. A vaccine works by taking a weakened or dead strain of a specific strain of microorganism, toxin or surface protein and injecting it into the human body. Once injecting into the body, our immune system beings to build up the antibodies that are used to fight off that particular disease. So when we come in contact with a disease that we are immune too, our body already has the built up antibodies to quickly react by sending those antibodies to fight of the antigens before we get sick.
Paragraph 2: Different Types of Vaccines
There are four different type of vaccines, live-attenuated vaccines, inactivated vaccines, conjugate vaccines and toxoid vaccines. Live-attenuated vaccines uses a weakened form of the germ that causes the disease. They create a strong and long-lasting immune response that just one or two doses can give you a lifetime of protection. Live vaccines target MMR, rotavirus, smallpox, chickenpox and yellow fever. Inactivated vaccines use the killed version of germ that causes the disease. Because these vaccines aren’t as strong, you may need several doses of booster shots over time in order to keep ongoing immunity against diseases. Inactivated vaccines protect against Hepatitis A, flu, polio, rabies. A conjugate vaccine uses specific pieces of the germ – like its protein, sugar, or capsid. Because theses vaccines are ver specific, they have a very strong immune response that targets only specific parts of the germ. What’s special about this vaccine, is it is compatible with almost everyone. Meaning, those with weakened immune systems and long-term health problems can receive this vaccine. A conjugate vaccine targets HIB, hepatitis B, HPV, whooping cough, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal disease and shingles. A toxoid vaccine uses a toxin which is a harmful product made by the germ that causes a disease. Works by targeting the toxin instead of the whole germ. Like two of the other vaccines, this one also require boosters. Some examples of toxoid vaccines are diptheria and tetanus.
Paragraph 3: Background
A long time ago, disease outbreaks were common. Especially in Europe and other countries overseas. As a result of these outbreaks, thousands upon thousands of people died. How did these diseases make it to America? You may remember stories of explorers discovering new land and settling the Americas. When these settlers settled in the Americas, they not only brought civilization, but they also brought with them deadly diseases. Prior to the introduction of vaccinations, inoculation was practiced in parts of China dating back to the 10th century. Then, in 1796, a British physician Edward Jenner created the first vaccine. The terms vaccine and vaccination are derived from the term Variolae Vaccinae devised by Edward Jenner which referred to his cowpox research. Edward Jenner took pus from a cow pox lesion and scratched it into the arm of an 8-year-old boy; James Phipps. After being exposed to smallpox and experiencing no symptoms, the boy was inoculated. Dr. Jenner extend his studies and in 1798 reported that his vaccine was safe for children and adults. In the 1880’s the second generation of vaccines was introduced by Louis Pasteur who developed vaccines for chicken cholera and anthrax. Today, “scientists widely consider immunizations to be one the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century”. Scientists are currently making new discoveries through research to find ways to improve our current vaccines while also creating new ones. The Center of Disease Control “estimates that for children born in the US from 1994 to 2013, vaccinations will prevent an estimated 332 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732, 000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.”
Paragraph 4: Importance of Vaccines
Vaccines are a necessity. Their purpose is to keep children healthy. Some believe that there is not need to vaccinate their children because the risk of contracting an infections disease is rare and the majority of other children are vaccinated. However, without the protection vaccines provide, disease epidemics would be society’s worst fear and biggest concern. Therefore, vaccinating children are not only a necessity in the Americas but also worldwide. Even though vaccines are a necessity, some vaccines are not as important as others. For instance, there are some diseases that are close to being eradicated such as the measles or polio and then there are diseases that have already been eradicated such as small pox. This is due to the protection of herd immunity. Herd of immunity is the resistance of the spread of contagious disease within a population due to a sufficiently high percentage of individuals who are immune to the disease. If the number of people who don’t vaccinated their children increases, it will decrease the effects of the protection of her immunity which then effects the whole community.
Paragraph 5-7: Concerns/Controversies
One of the biggest concerns about vaccines is whether or not they are safe. It is common after receiving an immunization for there to be side effect such as redness, swelling, and tenderness at the injection site along with a fever and/or rash. However, more serious side effects including allergic reactions have happened but are rare. “The Center of Disease Control (CDC) approximates the possibility of a serious reaction to a vaccine at about one in a million doses” (Haelle, 2017). Before a vaccine is deemed safe and introduced to the public it must first be approved by the FDA. Before a vaccine can be approved as safe, effective and reliable as possible, it must go through vigorous testing and research.
One of the most common misconceptions and a big concern parents have for their children is that a child’s immune system can be overloaded when multiple vaccines are given at one time. “However, studies have repeatedly demonstrated that the recommended vaccines are no more likely to cause adverse effects when given in combination than when they are administered separately.” If a parent delays vaccinating their children, they are putting them at risk of contracting preventable illnesses. From the time a child is born till adulthood, a child receives on average a total of twenty-seven vaccines. Granted, some vaccines are given several times such as the flu, tetanus and several others. Once an adult, vaccines are given more sporadically throughout life.
No vaccine is a hundred percent effective. This statement has raised concerns whether or not vaccines are efficient and whether vaccines are really the cause of the decline in outbreaks of theses disease or if better hygiene and sanitation practices have caused the decline. “While these factors along with better diets and less crowded areas played a part, viruses did not significantly drop until vaccines were introduced” (Six, 2017). When concerns arise about a vaccine’s efficiency, scientists begin researching and testing to prove and/or disprove their concerns with new information to protect those who receive the immunization from any negative effects they might cause. (Vaccine Safety, 2017)
Paragraph 8 Conclusion:
In closing, parents have every right to be worried about their children. They have every right to have concerns about the dangers of injecting their children with vaccines. My hope is that by reading this informative information, it will put parents at ease by educating and addressing concerns that have raised against vaccinations. Vaccines have kept us safe for decades and will continue to protect us decade after decade.
Introduction: What are vaccines and how do they work?