Finally, it’s time to get back to school! This moment has been long anticipated by children, teachers, and parents alike. With this exciting time approaching, it is vital to assess your family’s immunization records. Talk to your physician and start the school year with confidence!
The First Vaccine Invented
The first vaccine was created in 1798 by Edward Jenner, otherwise known as “The Father of Immunology.” Dr. Jenner was able to successfully prevent the smallpox disease by using the less severe strain, cowpox. Before the invention of this lifesaving vaccine, smallpox caused the deaths of 300 million people in the 20th century, according to WHO. In 1980, the organization declared smallpox eradicated from the world.
Eliminated vs. Eradicated
It’s important to understand the difference between an eliminated and an eradicated disease. A disease is considered eradicated when it is reduced to zero new cases in the worldwide population. Elimination is achieved when a geographical area experiences no new cases, or a low target rate, but the disease can still resurface. Smallpox is the only eradicated disease in humans.
Diseases that are considered potentially eradicable include measles, mumps, polio, and rubella. Polio, measles, and rubella have been eliminated in the United States, thanks to efforts by the CDC and the availability of vaccinations.
This does not mean that the threat of viral diseases is gone. Unfortunately, under-vaccination is making its mark on the United States. In 2014, 667 cases of measles were reported to the CDC resulting in a 256% increase of the disease from the previous year. The CDC has stated that 74% of those cases were due to unvaccinated individuals.
The Dangers of Under or Non-Vaccinated Populations
Today, the world is highly connected with travel being more accessible than ever. With this freedom comes an increased risk of contracting preventable diseases. At least 4 million deaths are prevented every year by the medical miracle of immunizations.
There is a dangerous belief circulating that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent. Multiple studies have proven that this fear is unfounded. Vaccinations will prevent approximately 322 million ailments, 21 million hospitalization, and 732 deaths for children born between 1994 and 2013, according to the CDC.
If you choose to delay vaccinations for your children, they are at risk for a life-threatening infectious disease; even amusement parks can be the source of a multi-state viral infection. Furthermore, if a woman is not up-to-date on immunizations during pregnancy, rubella syndrome can infect the infant and cause heart defects, developmental delays, and deafness. The whooping cough vaccine is among the recommended vaccines for pregnant women, as 15,000 to 50,000 cases are reported each year and can prove deadly to unvaccinated infants.
The Importance of Herd Immunity
Some populations are not eligible for vaccinations due to immune-deficiencies, allergies, or simply being too young to receive them. These are not people who make the decision against a vaccine, but the people whose bodies truly cannot handle it.
Herd immunity ensures that at-risk populations, such as infants, are protected from diseases. This works by limiting the person to person spread of germs and preventing potential outbreaks. When the general public has immunity against diseases, it protects the vulnerable populations within a community.
Vaccine Waivers for Children
Currently, there are 44 states that allow a vaccine waiver for non-medical purposes; 29 states allow a religious exemption and 15 states allow an exemption for philosophical or moral beliefs. Most states base their school immunization requirements in accordance with CDC recommendations.
If you have doubts or unanswered questions about the side effects of vaccines, talk to your child’s physician. While the internet is filled with useful and helpful information, a doctor is the best resource for vaccine information.
Covid-19 Vaccine Explained
With Covid-19 vaccines being distributed around the world, there is finally an end in sight to the Covid-19 pandemic. There are currently three vaccinations being distributed worldwide to slow, and hopefully stop, the pandemic: Moderna, Pfizer, and Janssen produced by Johnson & Johnson.
All three vaccines are safe and effective, but they can cause temporary side effects. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses with a break between them: 21 days for Pfizer and 28 days for Moderna. Janssen is currently the only vaccine that requires only one dose. Immunity is fully developed two weeks after the full vaccination has been completed.
The Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective in preventing the Covid-19 virus, Pfizer is 95% effective, and Janssen is 66.3% effective. Covid-19 vaccination is recommended for children 12 and older, but is not required to return to school. All Covid-19 vaccinations are available in the United States free of charge at hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics. Call MANA to schedule your vaccine.
Vaccines have changed the world for the better! If you or your children are missing vaccines, it is imperative to your family’s health, and the health of others, to maintain and update vaccinations. Talk to your physician today about the benefits of vaccines and the immunity they provide!