Why are vaccinations needed? The benefits of vaccination and the problem of immunity

How the vaccine works

When a virus first attacks the body, the immune system produces antibodies to fight it.
A vaccine is a weak form of a virus; it “teaches” the body to recognize danger. Therefore, when attacked by a real virus, the body is already prepared and will defend itself more actively. The vaccine protects not only the individual, but also those around them. If the majority is vaccinated (approximately 75-94% of the population), then the rest have nothing to fear - collective immunity will work. Infants, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are not vaccinated, but they are not at risk because of those who receive the vaccine. Thus, the health of the nation depends on the choice of each individual.

Vaccination is the only reliable way to protect against influenza. Antibiotics do not act on the virus, but there is a high risk of complications. Up to half a million people die from influenza every year. The disease spreads quickly, with epidemics occurring every year. Therefore, vaccination has become the most effective prevention.

In 2011, 49 US states did not provide sufficient whooping cough vaccinations. As a result, 42 thousand people became infected with the virus in 2012, the largest outbreak of the disease since 1955.

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Consequences of refusing vaccinations

However, despite the constant improvement of vaccination methods, some people refuse vaccinations. Some do this due to a medical “recusal”, others are guided only by their own arguments about the dangers of vaccinations. If we are talking about the flu vaccine, then it is a personal decision for everyone to choose whether to get vaccinated or not. However, a completely different situation arises when it comes to vaccinations against polio, diphtheria, tuberculosis and other dangerous diseases, infection with which with almost 100% probability leads to disability or even death. Considering that children suffer from such infections more often and more severely, we have no right to risk their health. When vaccinated against these diseases, the likelihood of contracting them even through contact with a source of infection is reduced to almost zero.

Are parents' fears justified?

Some parents are concerned that the vaccine may cause fever and seizures. Up to 5% of children experience cramps during a cold. In fact, vaccines are more likely to prevent seizures caused by diseases such as measles and chickenpox.

The composition of the vaccine is harmless to the child, doctors assure. Merthiolate, formaldehyde and aluminum can be dangerous in large doses, but vaccines use small amounts of these substances. Significantly more aluminum is found in breast milk. Experts say that in everyday life there are many more bacteria, viruses, toxins and harmful substances than are contained in one vaccine.

An adverse reaction to a vaccine is very rare. The most common of these is allergies, which occur once in hundreds of thousands of vaccinations. According to CNN's chief medical officer, a person is more likely to be struck by lightning than to have an allergic reaction to the vaccine.

The number of cases of post-vaccination complications (PVC) decreased from 500-600 in 2006-2012 to 202 in 2015; in 10 months of 2016, 164 cases were recorded. In terms of the number of vaccinations performed more than 110.6 million annually, the frequency of PVO in 2015 was only one case per 550 thousand vaccinations.

The anti-vaccination movement began when Andrew Wakefield linked vaccinations to autism in 1998, publishing a “study” in which he cited 12 examples of autism contracting from measles, rubella and mumps vaccinations (all in one syringe). Experts could not find confirmation of this theory. Reasons for concern were sought in the USA, Finland, Denmark, Japan and Australia, examining 1.2 million children.

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In January 2010, the General Medical Council accused both Wakefield and the publication that published the “study” of misconduct. In April 2015, American scientists announced that the vaccine did not cause autism even in children predisposed to the disease.

The safety of vaccinations is confirmed by most authoritative organizations, including WHO, UN and UNICEF. Vaccinated women protect their potential children from viruses that may appear at birth. The vaccine prevents possible problems with the heart, hearing, vision, stomach, as well as mental illnesses.

The benefits and harms of vaccinations - the whole truth about vaccination

Vaccination is a complex and unsafe process. And despite the fact that doctors are vying with each other about the need to undergo immunization, it is still worth looking at the process objectively and sensibly weighing all the pros and cons that accompany each first vaccination.

Positive aspects of vaccines

So what is the benefit of the vaccine?
The benefit of a vaccine is that it is able to develop the correct response of the body’s immune system to a pathogenic bacterium that contributes to the development of a certain type of infection.

After ingestion of the vaccination solution, active production of antibodies begins, which makes the body resistant to the effects of pathogenic microflora.

Negative qualities of vaccines

However, vaccination, like any other drug, brings more than just benefits to the body. And this should also be taken into account before getting vaccinated.

Firstly, pharmacists use many metals that have toxic effects on the body (for example, aluminum) as adjuvants and preservatives. Metal used in small quantities will not lose its toxic properties and, once inside the body, will affect tissues and organs in a certain way.

Secondly, the effects of weakened, live and dead viruses that infect the vaccine composition are still unpredictable.

That is, their effect on the body can become extremely negative, which can result in the most severe side effects and complications.

And thirdly, the same unpredictability of bacteria can pose a danger to the body over a long period of time. Some vaccine compositions have a rapid effect, simulating the correct immune response.

Others, after ingestion, behave passively, without causing any reaction for a certain period of time. Therefore, side effects in the form of diseases appear much later than expected.

Having assessed the benefits and harms of vaccination, the child’s parents can refuse vaccination by signing a written refusal.

Mantoux test value

The Mantoux test in Russia is carried out for all children and adolescents. Almost every adult is infected with the tuberculosis bacillus; the reaction in almost 100% of cases indicates the presence of the disease. In this case, the degree is important. If the indicator is average, the person is safe. If the indicator is high, this is a bad signal. Today, there are 80 cases of the disease per 100 thousand population, but thanks to the Mantoux test it can be detected at an early stage.

Water is an irritant that will increase the reaction to the vaccine and it may be mistakenly identified as positive. In this case, additional samples will be needed. Therefore, there is no need to wash, swim or steam in a bathhouse, nor do you need to scratch, warm or rub the injection site.

Vaccination of children and adolescents is carried out free of charge. The cost of a Mantoux test for adults in Moscow varies from 800 to 3380 rubles. In any case, the vaccine itself costs much less than treatment and care for the patient.

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Also, in a medical institution, a person will be able to receive complete information about vaccinations, the consequences of refusing them and possible consequences. A person also has the right to free vaccinations included in the national calendar of preventive vaccinations and the vaccination calendar for epidemic indications, and to a medical examination before vaccinations, and to receive medical care in case of post-vaccination complications.

Reasons why parents should refuse immunization

Parents should refuse to immunize their child if the child has absolute contraindications. these include:

  • serious complications after previous vaccination (fever up to 40 C or more, redness and swelling of the vaccination site up to 8 cm, convulsions and some others);
  • immunodeficiency conditions, congenital or acquired after illness or taking medications;
  • the weight of the newborn is less than 2 kg;
  • development of diseases of the nervous system;
  • severe forms of allergies caused by medications;
  • Allergy to baker's yeast and chicken egg white.

In these cases, vaccination of a child is strictly contraindicated, and its resumption and implementation should only occur under the strict guidance of a doctor.

Parents also have the right to refuse vaccination if their child has temporary contraindications to vaccination:

  • ARVI;
  • runny nose;
  • intestinal infection;
  • slight increase in temperature.

In such a situation, it is possible to refuse vaccination until the health condition returns to normal.

Despite the fact that experts strongly recommend immunizing children, no one can force a child to get vaccinated (even if it is mandatory and mentioned in the National Calendar). In case of complete refusal of vaccination, the child’s parents sign the appropriate paper, which is attached to the baby’s medical record.

Effectiveness of vaccination

Thanks to vaccinations, polio was eradicated from the United States by 1979. And by 1980, vaccination rid the world of smallpox and the consequences of the disease - liver and uterine cancer. By 2012, the incidence of chickenpox, diphtheria and rubella had decreased by 99%.

According to the UN, vaccinations save 2.5 million children, which is approximately 285 children per hour. According to the American Center for Disease Control, thanks to vaccination from 1994 to 2014, 732 thousand children were saved in the United States, and the disease was prevented in 322 million cases.

While 16,316 people died from polio and 29,004 from smallpox in the 20th century, there were only 500 cases of polio reported worldwide in 2014, mostly in small countries such as Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

If parents are afraid to vaccinate their child, there are alternative medical methods. Instead of the Mantoux test, you can do a quantiferon test; it costs from 1,500 to 4,500 thousand rubles. The danger cannot be ignored in any case.

Who is at risk from vaccinations?

Are those who refuse vaccination right? The answer to this question must be decided individually, taking into account the risk/benefit ratio.

The risk associated with vaccination increases in the following situations:

  • incorrect dose of vaccine;
  • incorrect choice of immunization technique;
  • violation of equipment sterilization techniques;
  • improper storage and transportation of the vaccine;
  • vaccine contamination;
  • ignoring contraindications.

The risk of adverse reactions can be reduced by pre-taking antihistamines (subject to consultation with a doctor).

How do they approach the issue of vaccinations in developed countries?

Vaccinations are still mandatory in Russia, but in many European countries citizens can choose whether to get them or not.

For example, in France they do not vaccinate against hepatitis B and polio . Vaccination against these diseases will begin only if there is a threat of epidemic.

Many European countries, including England, the Netherlands and Sweden, do not vaccinate pertussis vaccine to children whose family members - brother, sister, mother or father - had a nervous disease or had convulsions.

In England, preventive vaccinations are also optional, after residents of a small town demonstrated and demanded the abolition of compulsory smallpox vaccinations, when many children died as a result of forced vaccination with a low-quality drug.

After a protest, the British Parliament passed the Freedom of Conscience Act, after which every Briton could choose whether to get vaccinated or not.

In America, vaccinations are not accepted - doctors do not hide the fact that after vaccination, two out of a million vaccinated people die. In connection with the threat of bacteriological warfare after the events of September 11, the President signed a decree on mandatory immunization. However, only 1% of Americans went to hospitals.

And in Australia, vaccinations are mandatory and vaccination is universal.

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