Immunization: what you need to know.The role of vaccines in disease prevention and public health



Immunization: that is a scary word for most student's they automatically think I'm going to have to get a shot! Ouch that will hurt,seldom do they think if I don't get this shot I might get sick or even worse die. What if I get a family member sick, or pass something on to a younger family member or friend.Shots may hurt a little, but the diseases they can prevent are a lot worse. Some are even life-threatening. Immunization shots, or vaccinations, are essential. They protect against things like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). Immunizations are important for children as well as adults

Your immune system: helps your body fight germs by producing substances to combat them. Once it does, the immune system "remembers" the germ and can fight it again. Vaccines contain germs that have been killed or weakened. When given to a healthy person, the vaccine triggers the immune system to respond and thus build immunity. Before vaccines, people became immune only by actually getting a disease and surviving it. Immunizations are an easier and less risky way to become immune.

Communicable diseases: are infections that can be passed from one person to another.Immunity to a communicable disease means that the body has defenses against that disease,so that a person doesn’t become infected if they are exposed to the disease-causing organism.Immunity can be conferred by a past infection or by vaccination.Herd immunity exists when people without immunity to a certain disease are protected indirectly by being surrounded by people who are immune. If a high percentage of the population is immune, the entire population is protected because the disease has little opportunity to spread.That is, an infected person is unlikely to have contact with a susceptible person and pass on the disease. If a lower percentage of the population is immune, there are more opportunities for the disease to spread.

Herd immunity: works by reducing a disease’s ability to spread to others. Herd immunity can be established if enough people are vaccinated.Creating herd immunity is an important goal because it’s never possible to vaccinate 100 percent of the population. For example, some vaccines cannot be given to pregnant women,people with weakened immune systems, or people who are allergic to components of the vaccine. Babies, too, cannot get certain vaccinations before they’re several months old. What’s more, no vaccine is 100 percent effective. Vaccinations fail to confer immunity in a small percentage of those vaccinated. Some people may also choose not to be vaccinated. Others may not have access to vaccinations, or they may not even know about vaccinations they could have. Establishing herd immunity is a vital step towards protecting people who, for any of these reasons, do not receive vaccinations.The threshold required for herd immunity to be established varies depending upon the disease.

For example, to create herd immunity to measles, 83 to 94 percent of the population must be immune. Here are the estimated thresholds for some other diseases:

Diphtheria -- 85 percent

Mumps -- 75 to 86 percent

Pertussis (whooping cough) -- 92 to 94 percent

Polio -- 80 to 86 percent

Rubella -- 83 to 85 percent

Smallpox --80 to 85 percent

Before vaccines the only way a person had immunity was by getting a disease and surviving it. Immunizations are an easier and less risky way to become immune.

 Parents also need to know what immunization is needed for their middle school student, and what are the risk associated with not having their children  immunized. 

If you are still wondering if you should get immunized watch the video provided below! 


Should you get vaccinated?

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