Vaccines: To Be or Not To Be?
Ryleigh Grace—this is the name of my beautiful 8-month-old cousin. Looking at her, one would never be able to tell that she was born with a serious, life-threatening condition called meningitis. As a result, Ryleigh’s home for the first month of her life became the Cooper hospitals ICU. However, this scare was not enough to convince her parents to allow Ryleigh to receive her routine child-hood vaccinations, which would prevent other dangerous ailments she may encounter in the future. Ryleigh’s parents, however, are not the only ones with this state of mind. In today’s society, occurrences like this one are happening on a daily basis. The percentage of parents refusing their children receiving immunizations is increasing drastically. Due to the success of vaccinations, “the perception that susceptibility to and morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases are no longer a concern” (Ragan 1) has been promoted. Therefore, parents who have been exposed to stories of the oppositional outcomes vaccines have caused, they view immunizations as more of a threat. Although it is true that routine childhood vaccinations do prose possible risks of adverse effects, the benefits prove immunizations far more beneficial than disadvantageous. These benefits not only involve safety, but also deal with direct and societal costs of vaccines. The first vaccine came about around 200 years ago. It was created by Edward Jenner as a treatment for smallpox. At the time, smallpox was the culprit of the death of millions; so, Jenner postulated that by injecting a much milder form of the disease (cowpox), the body would build up immunity to smallpox. By doing this, he invented the technique of vaccination, which is defined in the article as, “injecting a dead or mild form of a virus or bacteria into the body in order to stimulate production of antibodies that will protect a patient in case of accidental infection later” (Lee 1). Today, smallpox is almost nonexistent in the United States. In the 1950’s, another vaccination was founded by Dr. Jonas Stalk that virtually wiped out the disease polio. Since then, several other vaccines have been created. When a vaccine is created, it must go through a 4-phase process before it is approved. These 4 phases include using participants to measure adverse effects and effectiveness. Once approved, the vaccine is monitored by the FDA, The Vaccine Safety Datalink Project, and the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (“Plain Talk” 19). This ensures the safety of the vaccines. Regarding the vaccines created, the diseases they protect against include Hepatitis A and B, Rotavirus, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Pneumococcal disease, measles, mumps, Rubella, Meningococcal disease, Human papillomavirus (HPV), and influenza. If contracted, Hepatitis A and B can both cause liver infection, disease and cancer. Individuals infected with these diseases are contagious and can easily pass it to another person (A through simply touching an object, putting the infectious substance on it, and B, through blood or other bodily fluids). Hepatitis A vaccine has no known adverse effects. However, there have been reports of severe allergic reactions to the Hepatits B vaccine. This reaction occurred in approximately 1 in 1.1 million doses (“Plain Talk” 25). Rotavirus is also easily spread. Symptoms that accompany the disease are high fever and vomiting, which is followed by diarrhea. An excess amount of diarrhea can lead to the child becoming extremely dehydrated due to the loss of body fluids, which can lead to hospitalization. When dealing with diarrhea in infants and young children, Rotavirus was the number one cause until the vaccine was created. No serious adverse reactions have been reported for this vaccine (“Plain Talk” 25). Diphtheria is known to cause breathing and heart problems, coma, paralysis, and death. Before the vaccine to this...
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