Immunization: Friend Not Foe
Thu, October 21, 2021

Immunization: Friend Not Foe

Its 2019 and, alarmingly, many adults are still reluctant to believe that immunization and vaccines are helpful weapons against diseases and other health conditions / Photo by: Pan American Health Organization via Flickr

 

Its 2019 and, alarmingly, many adults are still reluctant to believe that immunization and vaccines are helpful weapons against diseases and other health conditions. There is nothing wrong about being wary of things that we don’t understand, but it is almost unforgivable to remain ignorant when all the information can be had literally at the tip of our hands. Thus, turning a blind eye to the fact that vaccines and immunizations have proven to be of help in eliminating certain deadly diseases could make things worse for humanity.

But despite the rising numbers of anti-vaxxers in several countries, there are also places, such as California, which make sure that there is an ample amount of percentage of children in kindergarten who have the required immunizations. 

According to a table presented by Kids Data, an organization that promotes the health and well-being of children in California, of all counties in the state, Modoc County scored the highest with 99.1% of children in kindergarten who have the required immunizations. Meanwhile, Sutter County registered 71.9%, which makes it one of the lowest kindergarten populations that received the required vaccines.

The data was gathered from the California Department of Public Health, Immunization Branch, in June 2019. The kinds of immunization given to the children in the city included five doses of DTP/DTaP/DT vaccine, four doses of the polio vaccine, two doses of the MMR vaccine, three doses of hepatitis B vaccine, and one dose of varicella vaccine. 

Immunizations Are Important

Kids Data added that immunizations are the most successful and cost-effective preventive healthcare interventions. They have protected millions of children worldwide against serious and potentially fatal infectious diseases. The World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health, noted that having kids immunized could also prevent deaths in all age groups as it protects them from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. 

In 2018, there were an estimated 116.3 million children under the age of one who received three doses of DTP3 vaccine worldwide. These children were protected against an infectious disease which could cause serious disability that could be fatal if not handled properly. The present vaccines helped in stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if they were exposed to the disease. 

After that, the child will develop immunity to that said disease without getting sick first. Because of this process, it makes vaccines a powerful tool that could combat an alarming number of diseases fatal to children. So far, immunizations have saved approximately $70 billion in societal costs. 

Kids Data added that immunizations are the most successful and cost-effective preventive healthcare interventions. They have protected millions of children worldwide against serious and potentially fatal infectious diseases / Photo by: DFID - UK Department for International Development via Wikimedia Commons

 

Vaccines Are Out of Reach

Unfortunately, not all countries are capable of providing proper vaccinations and immunizations. The WHO said that an estimated 19.4 million children under the age of one year did not receive basic vaccines. These children live in Angola, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. 

In developed countries, vaccination in children is not automatic, which can lead to an outbreak of diseases. In the US, for example, chickenpox afflicted 36 children in a private school in North Carolina, according to an article published by Healthline, an American website and provider of health information. It was revealed that it was because of the high rate of unvaccinated children due to their parents’ religious convictions. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, one county registered 18 people infected with measles, according to state health officials. 

In New York, 87 people were diagnosed with measles after some residents visited Israel where a measles outbreak was happening and nearly 900 people were infected. Because of this, New York state health officials released a warning against measles and emphasized how it is still one of the most contagious viruses on Earth. The WHO estimated that 100,000 people died from measles in 2017 alone. 

The organization added that in some countries like Afghanistan, access to life-saving medicine is in short supply. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, deputy director-general for programs at WHO, said that “without urgent efforts to increase vaccination coverage and identify populations with unacceptable levels of under or unimmunized children, we risk losing decades of progress in protecting children and communities against this devastating but entirely preventable disease.”

Unfortunately, not all countries are capable of providing proper vaccinations and immunizations. The WHO said that an estimated 19.4 million children under the age of one year did not receive basic vaccines / Photo by: Julien Harneis via Flickr

 

Vaccines and Immunizations Are Life-Savers

One of the diseases that vaccines can prevent is measles. This highly contagious disease is characterized by high fever and the appearance of rashes. Complications can lead to serious disability or death. Due to the effort of several government and health organizations around the world, death due to measles has decreased by 73% from an estimated 500,000 cases that happened in 2000 to 140,000 in 2018. 

Modern technology has drastically changed our way of life, but unfortunately, some people choose to remain in the shadows and believe the fake and exaggerated news they see on the internet. If only these people will be more open to the idea that vaccination will do good instead of harm, then we can expect the fight against diseases to totally go our way.