What is a vaccine?
Vaccines are some of the most important developments of the twentieth century. A huge number of diseases have been prevented by vaccines, including smallpox, diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, and rubella. All of these were potentially fatal diseases while they were prevalent, and the introduction of the vaccines has certainly decreased the mortality rate, especially among infants and those with weakened immune system, by quite a few notches. Vaccination involves the introduction of the disease causing virus into the body of the child, so that the system builds its immunity from then onwards and contends the germs that may later enter the body. As a result, the child is forever protected from the vaccinated illness.
Positive effects of vaccines:
Protection of the child
The benefits of vaccinating your child far outrun any potential problem that the child might face, especially since no vaccine has been linked conclusively with any long term disorder in the vaccinated person. The importance of vaccination is very obvious: it protects the child from a wide range of diseases that can be potentially life threatening, or seriously damage the quality of life. For instance, polio was known to cause paralysis when it occurred, and chickenpox, diphtheria, and whooping cough were serious illnesses that almost always led to death.
Protection of the community
Besides, vaccinations don’t just help the vaccinated child protect themselves against deadly diseases. A god number of these eradicated diseases, such as chickenpox, are highly contagious, and contracting this may cause untold misery not just to the affected person, but also to those around them. People around them can also contract the disease, and preventing that from happening also requires the implementation of a bunch of cautionary measures that is quite a hassle.
Vaccination is also very cost effective. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. All it takes is a single shot of a vaccine, and the child is forever protected against the disease. This is a lot cheaper than having to treat the disease once it has been contacted, and in certain cases, the treatment might not even be effective. With vaccinations in place, a person can travel to and even live in countries that do not administer vaccinations against that disease.
Negative effects of vaccines:
Ever since its inception, the process of vaccination has drawn much criticism, and that continues up to this day. Back when vaccines were first developed, people were afraid that they were being injected with disease that would sooner or later kill them. Most people believed that injecting themselves with the vaccines would lead to strange illnesses they will not recover from. Sadly, even after more than a hundred years have passed since the introduction of the first vaccine, a huge number of people are still skeptical.
Questioning the necessity
The biggest bone of contention that the opponents of vaccinations have is that vaccines are completely unnecessary. A lot of the opponents suggest that there is no way to check the quality of the vaccines, and they find it highly outrageous that children are being injected with questionable viruses in order to prevent diseases that might or might not affect them. According to the opponents, a child’s immunity is automatically built against most of the diseases that require vaccination, and so it is absolutely not necessary to introduce potentially threatening germs into the system.
Concerns of autism
Yet another concern that has been doing the rounds among the opponents of vaccines is that these vaccines cause a host of developmental disorders in children. Some studies have been conducted based on the claims of the parents that vaccines are known to cause autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and cognitive problems. However, it must be noted that none of these studies have been conclusively proven, and no definite link has been found between developmental and learning disabilities and vaccinations. There are too many surrounding factors that could have led to the disorders the child grows up with to put a finger on vaccination as the definite cause. Besides, most of the children who do get the vaccinations live a completely healthy life unchallenged by such disorders.
The modern skepticism of vaccination possibly stems from a sense of complacence arising from not having experienced the ravages of certain disease for a long time. It should be remembered, however, that eradication of a disease does not imply or refer to the extinction of the germs that cause the disease; it simply means that every single person in an area is vaccinated against those germs. Once the vaccination stops, the disease comes back by attacking the unvaccinated person. While it remains your choice whether or not to vaccinate your child, ultimately the way of the vaccination is the prudent path to take.