Vaccines and Their Importance for Children
In this current era of implausible technology, discovery and medicine, it has adequately been proven that vaccines prevent diseases/infections. Significant medical institutions have for years conclusively supported and even advised the administration of vaccinations to avert infections that at times caused devastating impacts in both the person who contracted and in communities subjected to the disease transmission. Even though a stiff debate on the risks and benefits of vaccination remains evident; with some groups protesting against the constitutionality of vaccine administration, the proponents of this debate have proven that failure to exercising this practice subjects the unvaccinated individual to sickness and even fatality through disease acquisition and transmission. Despite the fact that several novel statistics have demonstrated reduced occurrence of infections with consequences resulting from vaccine-induced passive immunity, fear of risks associated with vaccination still loom. Currently, there are several individuals who are not aware of diseases still occurring in underdeveloped economies due to herd immunity via a majority vaccinated population. However, due to globalization, diseases that may be prevented through vaccination have the potential of landing anywhere.
Arguably, even though the connection involving vaccination and autism was stuck to study later retracted, it remains evident that the rate of failing to vaccinate children continues to elevate. Furthermore, these unvaccinated children create high risks to the ones who do not have the capacity to receive vaccines, on top of compromising the primary herd immunity. Whilst the modern science aims at demonstrating vaccine safety as well as effectiveness, regardless of the rare though definite unfavourable impacts, individual decisions concerning vaccination remain an intricate practice that is comprised of diversities in beliefs, perceptions and even values to consider; tenets that will be applied in this research to demonstrate the importance of vaccination in children, which include: offering disease immunity, health developments and long-lasting lives.
Notably, in this age of technological advancements, novel discoveries and medicine, smartphones, bionic eyes and even spaceships are no longer reserved for science invention. Vaccines carry the day as they are some of the major medical inventions that permit individuals to employ their adaptive immune systems to generate highly-specific antibodies together with immunological memories against any latent illness (Clements, Gordon and Luis 2055). Subtly, the innate immunity of the body discovers how to adapt correctly to the preceding fatal pathogen in the course of exposure to a weakened/inactivated pathogen in a secure manner. However, even after more than 200 years since Edward Jenner’s successful utilization of cow-pox pus in creating small pox immunity, there are still individuals hesitant to applying vaccinations to their children and even themselves (Stein 516). As a result, an anti-vaccination movement persists, with the proponents of this movement laying much concern over a potential correlation between autism and vaccinations. Fortunately, parents need not to be afraid of vaccination since after its inception, vaccines have been ruled to be safe and effective; examples being vaccines for polio, rubella, mumps, hepatitis and diphtheria among others.
The Potential Benefits of Vaccinations in Children
One of the principal examples of an effective vaccine remains to be the Smallpox immunization; practically, vaccination is the lone method an individual may be saved from Smallpox. Research has it that, in spite of the fact that Smallpox was once a virulent infection that used to take lives over one-third of the infected individuals, it has since been eliminated through the administration of vaccinations (Stein 516). In this respect, some of the already well-known benefits of vaccination include the protection from Smallpox, polio and influenza.
Conversely, questions arise concerning the effectiveness of vaccinations in eradicating diseases. Thus, the concept of the term ‘herd immunity’ sets in so as to expound on the issue of effectively eradicating an epidemic. Scholars have maintained that when a disease persists, every person who is infected, has, on average spread that particular infection to at least one different person (Park 27). On a bright side, when this phenomenon does not occur, then the infection is expected to gradually disappear from the population. In this sense, it is quite important to note that there are individuals who may be too young or sick to go through vaccination, an aspect that puts a great number of people at risk without herd immunity (Stein 518). It can be summed that the higher the proportion of the vaccinated individuals, the higher the effectiveness of every set vaccination, in protecting the vaccinated individuals and that of the entire population.
In addition, vaccinations play a significant role in protecting unborn babies/children. According to numerous researches, it has been confirmed that mothers who have received vaccinations have the potential of protecting their unborn children from birth defects that occur as a result of certain viruses (Gust et al 721). Significantly, it has also been proven that the application of this practice among the community helps in eradicating diseases, hence, benefiting future generations. A good example may be traced back to the period between 1963 and 1965, prior to the 1969 rubella vaccine licensing in the United States, where a global outbreak of rubella caused the fatality of eleven-thousand babies and a significant twenty-thousand birth defects among babies (Shapiro 145).
Therefore, it is suffice to say that after women have been vaccinated as children towards rubella, they will considerably decrease the probability of transmitting this virus to either their newborn or unborn babies (Clements, Gordon and Luis 2056). Furthermore, this is an aspect that will potentially eradicate the diverse birth defects that are correlated to rubella: for example, heart problems, vision loss, hearing loss, mental disabilities, congenital cataracts, liver and even spleen damage. Consequently, these birth defects are issues that potentially decrease living standards or quality of life, not to mention that they often require vast resources so as aid in enhancing outcomes (Park 29).
Vaccinations have also been observed to be cost-effective, along with saving substantial sum of funds in health care expenditure. For instance, in the United States, it was observed in 2009 that the nine vaccinations that were used prevented twenty-million cases of infections and saved forty-two thousand children from premature births (Worrall 2017). Again, these vaccinations were estimated to produce a significant savings of $13.5 billion in direct therapeutic as well as non-therapeutic costs that comprised of facets like primary infection treatments, travel expenses, special education and even equipment expenses for kids disabled by infection, on top of extra costs of extended hospital stays resulting from medical complications (Smith et al 21). In this study, it was confirmed that an extra $68.8 billion would be discharged in total societal costs, mainly lost pay/wages; thus, the disposable savings would be an astounding $82.3 billion (Shapiro 144). Consequently, saving more money in health care costs means that more resources can be used for vaccine research since it is even argued that other illnesses such as cancer and epilepsy may be prevented with vaccines.
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- Dr. Mutinda Jackson (Author), 2018, Vaccines and their Importance for Children, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/436824