Health (142). Some individuals depend on herd immunity either

Health Benefits of Vaccination            Apart
from the “bigger picture” in immunization efforts mentioned above,
vaccination’s immediate benefit is individual immunity: It provides long-term,
sometimes lifelong protection against a disease. The vaccines recommended in
the early childhood immunization schedule protect from measles, chicken pox,
pneumococcal disease, and other illnesses (Andre et al. 142). In the United
States for instance, the morbidity of infectious diseases – such as Diphtheria,
Rubella, Tetanus and Measles – that devastated the population before the
introduction of standard immunization, has decreased by up to 99.9% (Ulmer and
Liu 292) as a result of years of vaccinating children for said diseases. It is
argued that vaccination can also indirectly prevent certain types of cancer (Andre et
al. 142). Cervical cancer for instance can be caused by HPV types 16 and 18
both of which are preventable through vaccination (142). Studies have shown
that the HPV vaccines have proven to be effective in preventing pre-cancerous
lesions while also approaching 100%
effectiveness against all types of the virus (Pomfret et al. 4).
Moreover, it is possible – though rare – for a
person to get the disease even after vaccination but even then the disease is
milder and the symptoms are significantly reduced than those of an unvaccinated
person (Andre et al. 141). A study on the effects of pertussis, it was found
that vaccinated children who got infected were less likely to develop severe
symptoms while those that they developed, lasted for a fraction of the time
compared to unvaccinated children (Preziosi and Halloran 772-779). It is for
certain that prevention is possible in many cases and in my opinion necessary,
in order to protect one’s health.Authors Andre et al. also argue that even more
important than the protection of individuals, should they be exposed to a
pathogen, is our collective ability to protect those who are not vaccinated,
thru herd immunity (142). Some individuals depend on herd immunity either
because they cannot develop immunity or cannot be vaccinated. Those include
infants, pregnant women, cancer patients and immunosuppressed people. Studies
show that influenza infection remains a significant cause of morbidity,
mortality, and health expenditure among children undergoing treatment for
cancer (Kotecha et al.). Immunity for these immunocompromised groups is only
achieved by breaking the cycle of infection by reducing the number of
susceptible individuals in the environment (Babiuk 410). In other words,
minimizing the chances that the unvaccinated person will come in contact with
an infected one. Herd immunity is also the reason why the the pathogen won’t be
able to sustain itself and the disease will disappear at some level of
vaccination lower that 100% (Jacob and Reuben 602). Living proof of the importance
of herd immunity is Leukemia survivor Jacob Adashek, who was fully vaccinated
but after his bone marrow transplant his immune system had no response against
any vaccines (965). Addressing those who are skeptical about vaccines he says:
“For people like me, our best shot at staying safe is in the hands of our
community” further supporting the WHO’s argument about the importance of
immunization for ourselves and others. Economic and Social
Benefits of VaccinationTheoretical and empirical evidence has demonstrated that health care is
a major driver of economic growth. Jenifer Ehreth has estimated the economic
benefit of vaccination to be in the tens of billions over the past decades (qtd
in Andre et al). This view is supported by many experts who argue that not only
it assists long term economic growth but also provides direct savings. A study
conducted on elderly people aiming to measure the economic benefit of
vaccination, showed that vaccinating for influenza every year saved the US more
that $78 per person due to less hospitalizations and direct medical costs
(Nichol and Goodman 64). Apart from direct savings, another study that was
conducted in the EU found that every year, lost work days due to influenza
cause a GDP loss of up to €113 million (Preaud et al. 9). A prime example of
the economic and social impact that vaccines have is polio virus. It is
estimated that over 8 million people have been spared from paralysis since the
polio eradication program was initiated (Babuik 410). This not only translates
to huge savings in medical costs but also affects the individuals that would
have been paralyzed as well as their families and caregivers. It is difficult
to evaluate the true economic value of vaccines given a number of factors are
intangible and thereby difficult to quantify in pure monetary terms but taking
into account the full economic benefits of vaccination will allow understanding
why prevention is essential. Conclusion

Vaccines have saved millions of lives, prevented significant morbidity and
suffering, and even eradicated a disease. This last accomplishment, the
eradication of smallpox, highlights what can be achieved by vaccination. There are significant benefits to immunization for
everyone separately as well as collectively for society. Vaccines can keep us
safe from a simple disease such as the seasonal flu but also from serious
diseases like cancer. This is why we must also keep in mind those who are
unfortunately unable to protect themselves thru vaccinating and provide them
with herd immunity. Beacause of the success of vaccines so far, most parents
have never seen their child suffering from whooping cough, tetanus, polio, or
meningitis, so they aren’t aware of how serious these diseases can be. It would
be for the best if we tried to keep it that way.

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