Recently, there has been a lot of information in the news related to vaccination, sparking discussion and debates. The recent outbreak of measles, in particular, has raised questions about why vaccines are important and whether people should be vaccinated.
There are many perspectives and opinions about this issue, which can create confusion among many individuals. As a public health professional and a concerned member of our society, I have a very clear perspective on this issue, which is very much in favor of vaccination.
Here are the top three reasons why I support and encourage vaccination:
Vaccines are Safe and Effective
Myths and misinformation exist regarding vaccines, creating confusion about whether they are safe. Vaccines are tested and monitored to ensure the highest standards of safety. They are subject to years of testing before approval to use and regularly monitored to make sure they continue to be safe and effective. Any vaccine can cause side effects, but they are mostly mild issues like headaches, some pain at the site of injection, etc. Serious side effects are rare. The benefits of vaccination exceed the potential risks.
Diseases are Becoming Rare Because of Vaccination
Many diseases like polio and smallpox are becoming rare in the U.S. because we have been vaccinating against them. This is a great public health accomplishment because the pain, suffering and death from these diseases are virtually non-existent. However, this doesn’t mean we can stop vaccinating. There is the potential for diseases to stage a comeback, which is what we have recently seen with the measles outbreaks featured in the news media.
Vaccination Protects Communities
Vaccines work best when most people in our community are vaccinated. The risk of exposure to a vaccine-preventable disease is lower when more people are vaccinated. This is known as community immunity, or “herd immunity.” Herd immunity provides protection for everyone, including those who have not been vaccinated due to age (like newborns), illness (like cancer or HIV) or other factors.
My bottom line: Vaccines remain one of the best defenses against serious diseases. We vaccinate to protect our communities from disease and secure that protection for our future generations. It is important for all of us to be informed and to do our part to protect each other from disease. If you have questions or concerns, please be sure to talk to your health care professional.
Learn about how you can become a health care professional through Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions by visiting our website.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Vaccines and Immunizations, 2014.