Turning the pages of history, one will witness a couple of pandemic tales that tell the story of the amount of loss the world has suffered due to newly emerging and re-emerging infectious viral diseases.
During the 20th century, the 1918 influenza pandemic “Spanish Flu” was the most severe pandemic, and it caused profound and world-shattering havoc and deaths around the globe.
In the 21st century, the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) prevailed internationally in less than six months.
Wrecking severe damages throughout the world with high death rates, particularly among the elderly population and those with co-morbidities.
The pandemic gravely disrupted the world economy.
Most countries and territories around the world enforced lockdowns of varying stringency, and other limiting mitigation measures such as social distancing, wearing facemasks, travel restrictions, and restriction on social gatherings were put in place.
All these are constraints on activities that boost each country’s economy resulting in the disruption of the world financial system.
Observing strict preventive measures is necessary to combat the disease but is not enough. With more than 100 million people infected and more than 2 million deaths, the best possible hope is that vaccination will add an extra layer of protection to the existing preventive countermeasures in the control of the pandemic.
Vaccination has not only made a vital but also enormous contribution to global health. Vaccines contain attenuated or killed viral entity organism that triggers the immune response in the body and ultimately strengthens the body’s defense mechanism. So, vaccines are clinically tested, safe and will cause no harm.
When a person is vaccinated, the chances of protection against the targeted disease are high, thereby giving the person immunity and added covering from such disease.
But not everyone can be vaccinated, as people suffering from severe diseases such as HIV/AIDS, people in an immunocompromised state, and people that are allergic to the vaccine may be susceptible to vaccination and its side effects.
Also, there are those individuals who decide not to get vaccinated for various reasons. It is their prerogative, and their rights should be respected. Therefore, vaccination should not be made mandatory for the entire public but should be strongly recommended.
Public health experts strive for herd immunity because it protects individuals and community members from getting a disease. Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community (the herd) becomes immune to a disease reducing the chances of contracting the infection thereby making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely.
This will result in the protection of the whole community, not just those who are immune to the disease.
A safe and effective way to prevent disease and save lives now more than ever is through vaccination. Today, there are vaccines available to protect against at least 20 diseases such as polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, influenza, and measles. Together, these vaccines save the lives of up to 3 million people every year.
There are still more advancements to be made and more to be learned about vaccine medicine, nonetheless, vaccination not only protects you but also significantly reduces your chances of contracting infectious diseases and protects the people in your surroundings.
In a nutshell, vaccination is effective in combating diseases.
Thank you for getting vaccinated!
Emmanuel J. Osemota writes in his stead as County Epidemiologist in FL