What are vaccinations? Vaccinations, also called immunization, is the inoculation of the body with an inert form of a bacteria or virus in order to strengthen the body’s immune system. Once given a vaccine, and individual typically becomes immune to whatever illness the vaccination was created to prevent. In other cases, immunity increases but does not reach 100%. In any event, they are widely accepted to be the most effective method of preventing illness among individuals, and even epidemics in large populations. They have been an indispensable addition to public health ever since their earliest days. Imagine a world in which people still suffered from diseases such as Polio or Tetanus.
Sadly, these diseases are starting to reappear in some communities in the developed world where they had previously been eradicated for decades. This is because, in recent years, some people have received frightening misinformation about the efficacy and safety of vaccines, particularly among children. Of course it is reasonable that people should be concerned about the welfare of their children, but it is unfortunate that unfounded rumors and certain celebrity causes have made parents so worried about vaccines that they sometimes ignore the real risk of deadly infection that comes with neglecting a proper immunization schedule.
Vaccines have improved community health in myriad ways. For example, there are a number of diseases that people today have heard of, such as polio, measles, and mumps, yet people rarely catch these diseases today. Flu vaccines are another important pubic health breakthrough. Although people worry more about rarer, more exotic diseases than the flu, it actually kills thousands of people every year. Young children, the elderly, and people with suppressed immune systems are especially vulnerable. Flu vaccines are generally inexpensive and readily available not only from a doctor, but often from local pharmacies and health care clinics. If everyone within a community receives all of the recommended vaccinations for an area, then the community as a whole is healthier and less at risk of epidemic diseases.