Vaccines are considered a modern miracle. They have eradicated disease that would at one time rob the body of its ability to function properly or perhaps even cause death. With the development of vaccines those concerns were put to rest and a generation has finally lived without fear of disease. Although there are those that refuse vaccination based on religious or personal views, vaccination of all people must be continued so that morbidity and mortality can be avoided.
Diseases such as polio, smallpox, measles, mumps and rubella have been virtually eradicated in the U.S. by the invention of vaccines. The government first made vaccines mandatory in the 1800’s in order to combat smallpox. Previously families lived in fear of these diseases. Parents feared for their children’s health and gone were the care free days of summer with swimming and playing with friends, instead children played at home in order to avoid contracting disease. Polio
One of the most dreaded diseases in recent American history was polio. Initially this disease was called infantile paralysis as it affected children under four. Soon this disease was simply known as polio because it affected mainly children of all ages (Hull, H., & Alyward, B (2001). In 1988 wild poliovirus was endemic in more than 125 countries on five continents, paralyzing more than 1000 children every day (World Health Organization 2010).
The symptoms started out as many typical illnesses with a fever and aches but soon progressed to severe weakness of the muscles including those that allowed for breathing. For the children that were weakened so significantly they would end up needing respiratory assistance they were eventually faced with the prospect of being locked from the neck down in a huge iron box called an iron lung.
I had a cloth around my neck to keep it from being rubbed away by the
collar….One day it slid…I couldn’t breathe. I was crying and calling the
you really had to learn to melt to get her attention. She came in and
seemed frustrated, overworked and too busy. I told her what was wrong
and she told me to stop crying. She told me she would turn off my respirator
if I didn’t stop crying.
I passed out immediately when she did.
D’Antonio, Baer,Rinker &Lynaugh, p.218.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), spearheaded by national governments, the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF, is the single-largest, internationally-coordinated public health project the world has ever known. Since 1988, more than two billion children around the world have been immunized against polio thanks to the unprecedented cooperation of more than 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, backed by an international investment of more than US$ 5 billion (W.H.O., 2010). The development of the polio vaccine by Scientist Jonas Salk and then the development of the oral polio vaccine by Albert Sabin, polio cases have been decreased by 99% (Sholts and Duclos (2000) Measles
The measles virus can cause a variety of side effects including swelling of the brain, seizures, mental retardation and at its worst, death (Dallaire, 2009). Since the invention of the measles vaccine, measles and the accompanying effects of the disease have declined by 99 %( Smailbegovic, Laing and Bedford 2003). “…due to vaccination against measles during the first 20 years of vaccine licensure have been enormous. In this period it is estimated that vaccination against measles has prevented 52 million cases, 5,200 deaths, and 17,400 cases of mental retardation, achieving a net savings of $5.1 billion” (Omer, Salamon, Orenstienm, Dettard and Halsey 2009). These statistics will continue to rise into the future. There seems to be a sense of...
References: Smailbegovic, M., Laing, G., & Bedford, H. (2003). Why do parents decide against immunizations. The effect of health beliefs and health professionals. Child: Care, Health and Development 29(4), 303-311
Omer, S, Salamon D., Orenstein, W., Dettard, P., & Halsey, N. (2009). Vaccine refusal, mandatory immunizations and the risks of vaccine preventable diseases. New England Journal of Medicine, 360 (19), 1981-8. Retrieved from; http//www.nejm.org
World Health Organization(W.H.O.) (2010). The global polio eradication initiative. Retrieved from: http://www.polioeradication.org
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