Immunizations

Alexandrea Erbynn

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What is an Immunization?

An immunization is the process in which a disease is given immunity to a specific pathogen by means of antibody proteins that are used to eliminate pathogens from the body. People can get immunizations actively or passively.

Passive Immunization

Passive immunization gives a person immunization from an antibody that was made in another person’s body. An example of passive immunization, according to Britannica Digital Learning, is "...when a fetus receives antibodies from the mother across the placenta or when a breast-feeding infant ingests antibodies in the mother’s milk." Passive immunization is not long-lasting, but it protects you against pathogens and may arise naturally or artificially.
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Active Immunization

Active immunization occurs when an individual’s immune system produces its own antibodies and lymphocytes. It stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies against a specific infectious agent. An example of active immunization, according to Britannica Digital Learning, is "...an individual who recovers from a first case of the measles is immune to further infection by the measles-causing virus, because the virus stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that specifically recognize and neutralize the pathogen the next time it is encountered." Active immunization can happen naturally or be artificially made. Also, active immunization is usually long-lasting and can be activated when infected again.

Vaccine Development

Louis Pasteur made the first discovery of vaccinations in 1879. He focused on a disease called chicken cholera. He found out that some of the chicken cholera lost their pathogenicity and kept attenuated pathogenic characteristics. He treated chickens with a weakened form of the disease and showed that chickens were resistant to the harmful form. He then decided to find immunizations for other diseases.

Reasons to get Immunizations

Vaccines decline the number of deaths each year. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Some diseases that are prevented by vaccines, like pertussis (whooping cough) and chickenpox, remain common in the United States. On the other hand, other diseases are no longer common in this country because of vaccines. However, if we stopped vaccinating, even the few cases we have in the United States could very quickly become tens or hundreds of thousands of cases." Some diseases aren't as common as they used to be due to vaccinations. Without them, there could be way more deaths in the world.

Should they be mandatory?

Yes. Getting vaccines has more benefits than negative reactions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that "...the benefits of each vaccine clearly outweighs the risks, and that vaccinations have played the critical role in the decline of deaths due to infectious diseases... which have claimed many lives in the past." Vaccinations have reduced the number of deaths due to infectious diseases.

Are Vaccines still necessary?

Yes. Vaccines are still necessary in order to keep you from getting preventable diseases, to stop outbreaks from diseases, and to keep you from getting a disease when you travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that, "Although several of the diseases that vaccines prevent have been dramatically reduced or eliminated, vaccines are still necessary to prevent common infections... to prevent infections that could easily re-emerge... [and] to prevent infections that are common in other parts of the world.” All in all, vaccines are still necessary in order to keep you healthy.

What do Immunizations do?

Vaccines prepare the body to fight a specific disease. KidsHealth says that, “Vaccines work by preparing the body to fight illness. Each immunization contains either a dead or a weakened germ (or parts of it) that causes a particular disease.” Each vaccine has a dead or weakened germ that gives you the disease without getting you sick.

Are Vaccines Harmful because of their Ingredients?

The ingredients in vaccinations aren't harmful to people since they are familiar to the human body. Aluminum is used to boost your immune system. Formaldehyde is naturally produced by the body to produce energy. Finally, thimerosal isn’t used in many vaccines and is not allowed to be given to pregnant women or children under the age of three in California. However, there is no known harm that has been caused because of it.

Autism and Vaccinations

Twenty studies, from several different countries, show that autism is not caused by vaccinations. According to Paul A. Offit and Jeffrey S. Gerber, “Twenty epidemiologic studies have shown that neither thimerosal nor MMR vaccine causes autism. These studies have been performed in several countries by many different investigators who have employed a multitude of epidemiologic and statistical methods.” This proves that not getting vaccinations due to the fear of getting autism is pointless because studies show that you can't get autism from vaccinations.