The decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate is more important now than ever before. With the coronavirus present in our world, scientists’ have been working tirelessly to develop a vaccine to kickstart future immunity. However, it is impossible to discuss immunizations without sparking debate and confusion due to false assumptions and the mistrust of science. Therefore, my goal is to present the facts so that we may make informed health decisions and inspire others to do the same.
In 1796, an English physician named Edward Jenner was living during the devastation of the smallpox disease which killed 400,000 people annually. He made the connection that dairy farmers who milked cows infected with cowpox was protected against getting smallpox. This discovery led to deeper research into immunity and the benefits of pre-exposure to viruses and bacteria. Today, vaccines prevent between 2-3 million deaths per year and is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions. In the United States, diseases such as polio, measles, rubella, tetanus, and bacterial influenza have been nearly eradicated all because of vaccines.
Immunity is the way your body fights and protects against disease. When you enter your doctor’s office to get a vaccine, you are injected with a syringe with dead particles of the virus/bacteria inside (weird, I know). Once inside, your body quickly realizes the foreign “invader” and sends antibodies (disease fighting cells) to destroy the virus. Later, if you were to come in contact with that same virus/bacteria again, your body would recognize the invader and use the same defense system to destroy it again. In this way, vaccines train the body to recognize diseases and eliminate them before you have even been infected.
However, despite the facts that prove the necessity and benefits of vaccines, many parents and citizens decide to forgo vaccinations for many different reasons. This has caused a rise in the diagnosis of vaccine preventable diseases that was once previously or nearly eradicated.
When trying to decide if you are going to vaccinate or not, know that your decision does not only affect you. Vaccinations protect entire populations, and it only takes one anti-vaxxer to infect a member in a vulnerable population (ie. Infants, pregnant women, elderly, and immunocompromised patients). If you choose not to vaccinate, you have a responsibility to the community to inform schools and your workplace of your health status. You are considered to be a risk to others, and the best remedy is to be honest and forthcoming to those around you.
It could be months before there are treatments for COVID-19, and even longer for a vaccine to be made. It is important that we research and make these decisions now so that when the time comes, we will be ready. We fear things that we do not understand; therefore, it is best to know the facts so that we may take our health into our own hands and make better decisions for our families and communities.
Getting a vaccine or contracting the disease will both give you immunity and future protection from that disease. However, with vaccines you don’t actually get sick. Consider this: It’s better to prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs.
3 John 1:2 – ‘Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.’
Proverbs 4:6-7 – ‘Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding.’