Vaccination refers to administering of an antigenic material mainly aimed at stimulating an individual’s immune system. This stimulation develops an immunity to particular pathogens that tend to cause harm to the body. Studies regarding vaccination suggest that the practice bears fruit in preventing of diseases such as polio, smallpox and measles from attacking the body. In most parts of the world, such vaccinations are usually administered at a young age. However, vaccination processes face a number of controversies politically, scientifically, religious wise politically and even from a medical standpoint.
The arguments being tabled suggest that injury may occur when people get vaccinated. As a result, countries such as the USA have come up with a contingency plan for setting up of centres like the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program which deals with cases of injuries from vaccines (Plotkin, Gerber & Offit, 2013). This paper will highlight both side of the argument regarding vaccinations. A detailed discussion will be given regarding the pros and cons of vaccination and the different beliefs and conclusions that have been made on different occasion.
Importance of Vaccines
Vaccines act as a shield that protects individuals from diseases. Getting vaccinated as a child plays a significant role in safeguarding the immune system against diseases before they can contract them. Taking care of the immunity of the body in its early stages acts as a guarantee that disease-causing bacteria will be at bay. Vaccination not only protects one individual but also protects others. Through vaccination, the chances of other people contracting a particular disease are reduced significantly.
Infants and children face the greatest risk or infections because their immune system is still weak and has not developed a proper defence mechanism. Developing a defence mechanism takes time and as a result diseases such as polio, measles, whooping cough etc. turn out to be a serious threat to life.
Can Vaccines be dangerous?
From a medical standpoint, vaccines cannot overload a person’s immune system. On a daily basis, the immune system fights millions of disease-causing bacteria on a daily basis. Therefore, any vaccine administered to a person is meant to match up to the threats of these bacteria and protect the body from infection. Ideally, the work of vaccines revolves around boosting the immune system from external attacks. Therefore, arguing that vaccines would bring harm to people needs an in-depth review in terms of these findings (Plotkin, Gerber & Offit, 2013).
Controversies surrounding Administering of Vaccines
In the field of medicine, it becomes quite challenging when faced with the constant refusal of vaccine refusal. These controversies surrounding vaccination create a misguided conception that leads parents to believe that vaccines may cause harm to their children. As a result, a decrease in immunization rates reflects in most medical facilities despite the fact that scientific research is pro-immunization. The notion created is directly related to autism. Misinterpretation of data from the internet and cultural belief cases has led to the belief that vaccination can lead to autism in children. This is not true because vaccination is meant to boost the child’s immunity and prevent them from infections (Falconer, Craig, Campbell & Green, 2018).
Some of the theories that parents suggest cause autism in children include combining measles-rubella-mumps vaccine since it purportedly damages the intestinal lining and therefore creating an entry point for encephalopathic proteins. The second theory involves thimerosal, which is an ethyl-mercury that contains preservatives and supposedly causes harm to the central nervous system. The third theory suggests that administering multiple vaccines tends to weaken the immune system. The increase in cases of autism ideally highlights a lot of concern pointing to environmental exposure which includes vaccines (Falconer, Craig, Campbell & Green, 2018).
The MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine receives a lot of focus from researchers and scientists. For example, in 1998, a British gastroenterologist, Andrew Wakefield, together with his colleagues highlighted a case where 8 children showed symptoms of autism after a month from the time they received their MMR vaccine. However, coming to such a conclusion based on 8 children is a generalization of the situation. More than 40,000 British children receive this vaccine every month and when looking the greater picture, most of these children have no symptoms of autism. For Andrew’s case, it can be termed as sheer coincidence because if the vaccine was indeed the primary cause of autism, it goes without saying that more children would n have registered similar symptoms (Carrillo-Marquez & White, 2013).
Vaccination aids in boosting the immunity of an individual; a process that ensures that disease-causing bacteria are eliminated before they can cause the infection. The practice of vaccination has a lot of advantages to oneself as well as the society in general. It is every individual’s duty to ensure that the wellbeing of others is observed and this starts with vaccination against dangerous diseases. Therefore, the belief that vaccination serves as a source of autism is wrong. It can be termed as a misconception that arises from being misinformed by the internet, celebrities or cultural beliefs. A world free of some infectious diseases can be easily achieved through embracing the practice of vaccination.