Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Held back by fear, why vaccination shouldn’t be feared

With the flu season slowly approaching, have you though about getting you flu vaccines?

Influenza common referred to as the flu is highly contagious and the cause of many respiratory illnesses. And in some instances the cause life-threatening illnesses such as pneumonia.

So my question is why would anyone go through the pain and suffering the flu ,in this instance can cause us, when we can simply get vaccinated for it?

Polio_vaccination_in_Sweden_1957

We live in a time where we are fortunate to have vaccinations easily accessible to us. A time where we are not actively worrying about contracting serious life threatening disease such as measles, meningococcal, Pertussis (whooping cough), Shingles, yellow fever, smallpox and polio.

Prior to vaccination, there was a period where these diseases wiped out hundreds and thousands of people worldwide.

Edward Jenner carried out the first recorded ‘vaccination’ in the year 1796. He did this by infecting a 13-year-old boy with cowpox; it was later discovered that boy also showed immunity against smallpox. Throughout the 18th and 19th century immunisation for smallpox was available to large masses of people, and finally in the year 1979 smallpox was universally eradicated.

So you’re probably wondering what  vaccination is  exactly and how it works.

 

Vaccination is when a virus or bacteria is purposely introduced to an organism (in this case a human) in order to prepare the immune system to defend and fight off future infection.

 

Vaccines take advantage of the body’s innate ability to destroy any disease causing microbes and ‘remember ‘or in other words store a ‘memory’, of how to defend the body from these disease-causing microbes, if they do return in the future. The parts of the  body responsible for ‘remembering’ these disease causing microbes are known as the immune system. The immune system plays a crucial in protecting the body against invaders, and without it even your common cold could be deadly!

 

How this works is, When a pathogen first enters the body, the immune system produces antibodies to defend the body from these pathogens. The host organism will either fall ill or will remain unaffected , purely depending on the strength of the host organisms immune system and in addition to the effectiveness of the antibodies produced.

If the organism is affected by the pathogen and does in fact fall sick, a portion of the antibodies produced during this time will remain in the body. And then be activated if the body is exposed to same pathogen. So this process of ‘remembering’ a particular diseases causing pathogen allows a vaccine to work effectively.

 

Vaccines are made up of killed, weakened or modified pathogens. They work by deceiving the body into thinking that an infection has occurred when in reality it hasn’t. The vaccine is not powerful enough to cause sickness and prepares invasion, with the assistance of antibodies, against the particular pathogen that the vaccine contains. Therefore as a result the host organism has immunity against the specific pathogen, if or when faced with it in the future.

In the upcoming blogs you can expect to learn more about vaccination and for me to shed some light on the controversy surrounding vaccination.

 

Referencing

Immune.org.nz. (2016). A brief history of vaccination | Immunisation Advisory Centre. [online] Available at: http://www.immune.org.nz/brief-history-vaccination [Accessed 26 Apr. 2016].

Anon, (2016). [online] Available at:http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/vaccines/documents/undvacc.pdf[Accessed 26 Apr. 2016].

Historyofvaccines.org. (2016). Top 20 Questions about Vaccination — History of Vaccines. [online] Available at:http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/top-20-questions-about-vaccination#10 [Accessed 26 Apr. 2016].

NPS MedicineWise. (2016). What is vaccination?. [online] Available at:http://www.nps.org.au/medicines/immune-system/vaccines-and-immunisation/for-individuals/what-is-vaccination [Accessed 24 Apr. 2016].

Wikipedia. (2016). Vaccination. [online] Available at:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccination#/media/File:Polio_vaccination_in_Sweden_1957.jpg [Accessed 26 Apr. 2016].   IMAGE

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2 comments on “Held back by fear, why vaccination shouldn’t be feared

  1. shan1126
    May 2, 2016

    I agreed with you on the necessity and effectiveness of the vaccination. Vaccination is doing the majority good by building resistance against the diseases.

    But some people got the shot then fell sick immediately, some without the shot but did not have flu. How many people would actually go to ED because of flu? They only go because of more severe complications caused by it. Otherwise they will be waiting for long hours in ED. The best option is going to the GP or call home doctor to get some antibiotics and the “magic” panacedamol. For most of the non-symptomatic flu, the recommended treatment is most likely to be drink more water and have a sleep. The problems is we never know which type of symptoms we will have, do we?

    So what I want to share is that, besides seeing the bigger picture: viccaination is effectively prevent us from severe and painful experience by activating the defence mechanism; it is also ok to be aware of the risk we are willing to take: we may get sick from the vaccination, because our body react differently. Nothing is perfect or “all good”, but as long as it decreases the chance of getting sick, then it worth it.

    As a person who experienced side effects of flu vaccination for couple of times, i would be terrified to have another shot of it. But I would still recommend people to be vaccinated than risk their luck.

    Like

  2. dlcd31
    May 5, 2016

    The benefits of preventing disease with vaccinations far outweighs the risks of vaccinations. Vaccinations saves lives…of not only yourself but everyone you love around you. In fact, immunisation is actually considered one of the greatest health achievements of all time. Vaccinations are also a very cost-effective way to stop any severe diseases from breaking out and spreading. On the rare occasion there is a side affect, they are usually short-term and mild, which is much better than the long years of living with the disease. It is a sustainable medical source which create a sustainable future in which these diseases have practically died off entirely while saving thousands of children in the process. With these diseases gone, multiple benefits come. Not only does life expectancy increase, but DALY’s and YLD’s decrease in a massive way. Most “cons” are pure skeptics and complete theories. So you’re right…vaccinations shouldn’t be feared or held back in any way.

    Like

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