Is Vaccination Harmful to my Health?
During times in which there is a great chance of a disease outbreak, governments have been known to institute policies that require vaccination for all citizens. These policies (and, often, vaccination itself) has been protested by various groups for a number of reasons over the years. Vaccinations have been associated with a few negative events (in particular, one study attempted to link vaccination with autism). Despite the occasional negative press, vaccinations are very safe and have been used very effectively for decades.
The safety of vaccines lies in their method of action. The immune system acts in two ways: initial defenses through innate immunity and specific immunity through the adaptive immune system (Source: missinglink.ucsf.edu). The adaptive immune system also functions as an immunological memory bank, through which previous pathogens and infections can be remembered in order to more quickly and effectively mount a defense against them again in the future. This is the main way that vaccination works. Attenuated or killed pathogens are provided, often through injection, to the body along with various chemicals and additives that will promote an immune response.
Since these pathogens have either been killed or made far less infectious, the body is able to quickly mount an effective immune response without the recipient of the vaccine getting very ill. This immune response has the side effect of providing the body with an immunological memory of the illness which will last for years (or possibly for the recipients entire lifetime). This process is virtually identical to the process by which the immune system functions by itself. The only difference is that the body is provided with something that is made less dangerous in the vaccine than it would have encountered in the wild.
Over the years, vaccines have been proven time and time again to be very effective, safe, and useful against a variety of illnesses (even some cancers). One of the greatest medical achievements of the twentieth century is the elimination of smallpox. This achievement is primarily due to vaccination efforts. In addition, the outbreaks of various illnesses, many of which used to be considered fatal, have also been stopped. Some of these illnesses include things like polio, yellow fever, and malaria.
The negativity that can be found on occasion in the public or with the press is often due to a paper that was published in 1998 by a scientist named Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield published a paper that supposedly provided evidence linking vaccinations for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) with the onset of autism. This article was, however, subsequently found to be fraudulent and was fully retracted by the journal in which it was published. This retraction has not gone a long way to undo the damage done to the public view of vaccines, however.
Vaccination is a safe and effective way to increase resistance and immunity to a variety of illnesses. It is one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs that has ever been discovered. In addition, it is almost ubiquitous in the medical field around the world. Vaccination is, despite occasional bad press, very safe. Vaccination uses the same principles that the adaptive immune system is already using in order to increase immunity to specific illnesses. This means that the body already does the same thing that the vaccines are doing, just at a slightly slower pace and with a higher risk of further infection. Vaccines have wiped out some of the most deadly illnesses that have ever affected mankind and are getting stronger and safer every day.
To know more go to National Vaccine Information Center
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