Today’s society enjoys what generations before could not — the comfort of avoiding the same infectious childhood diseases that past generations feared, thanks in part to vaccinations. The human body’s immune system can fight a disease faster and better if it’s had the virus before or if it’s been vaccinated.
Vaccines are biologics that mimic the virus they are trying to prevent. Vaccines are manufactured by modifying a disease-producing antigen to stimulate immunity to the intended disease causing virus or bacteria. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinations from birth through adulthood to provide a lifetime of protection.
Lifelong protection is important because vaccine-preventable illnesses can strike anyone at any age.
The Center for Disease Control advises people of all ages to continue getting immunizations to prevent an epidemic of diseases that are nearly under control today due to patient education about the importance of immunizations.
According to the World Health Organization, infectious diseases were once the leading causes of death in the early 1900’s. Small Pox was one of the most devastating diseases humanity ever faced. The eradicated virus killed more than 300 million people in the 20th century. Thanks to a global vaccination campaign, the disease was destroyed in 1980.
There is abundant historical evidence that supports immunizations. It’s been a few generations since diseases like the paralysis-causing virus polio affected thousands of children in the United States. Once again, vaccines helped to diminish the infecting virus.
Though vaccinations have led to a radical decrease in infectious diseases in the United States, some of these diseases are still quite common in other countries and can be transported to the United States by international travelers. Individuals without immunizations are at risk of contracting an infectious disease from a traveler on a plane, train or vacation cruise.
The danger doesn’t end there as they can then possibly pass the infectious illness to others. Vaccines not only protect one’s health, they also help stem the spread of viruses to friends, family members and coworkers.
“In medicine today we often focus too much on treating the problem versus preventing the causes,” said Janelle Jinbo-Labuguen, a nurse practitioner at Tripler Army Medical Center, in Hawaii. “Get vaccinated. Help to prevent diseases and cancer.”
If patients have any questions or want to schedule a vaccination, they should talk with their primary care manager.