Those that grew up in the 1900’s, were not as privileged as our generation with the vaccinations we now have. A vaccination can keep entire populations from obtaining disease that can cause death. Ensuring your region is vaccinated, ensures they don’t have to fight off disease that we have already found protection against.
The first vaccine in the U.S. was for smallpox in 1796. They were actually taking material from a blister of an infected individual and inoculating into another person’s skin. In the 1940s, they had a set of recommended vaccines including smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (with the last three given in combination as DTP). In the 1950s, they added in the polio vaccine. In the 1960s, they came out with the mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine (with a combination called MMR introduced in 1970s). In the 1980s, they added in hepatitis B and Flu B to the list of vaccines. In the 2000s, they added in hepatitis A and varicella (known as chickenpox). In 2005, they added pneumococcal (pneumonia) and influenza. In 2010, they added in the rotavirus (severe diarrhea) vaccine. Starting in 2011 to present, they have added meningococcal (meningitis) and HPV (prevents cervical cancer and genital warts). As of late 2019, we now have the coronavirus vaccine.
What you Need to Know
We all need vaccines to protect us from serious disease. Vaccines are based on the latest research and science. Outbreaks can still happen in unvaccinated populations. The CDC and FDA take many steps to ensure that the vaccine they are issuing is safe. When you give your child a vaccine, you give them the power to fight off sickness. You can also ensure your baby is protected by obtaining vaccinations while you are pregnant. Vaccines aren’t just for kids, they can benefit adults as well, especially the elderly that cannot fight the flu or pneumonia on their own if they are exposed.
How do they Work?
Vaccines are highly effective and eradicating disease if administered properly. Vaccines train our immune systems to create proteins that fight disease, known as antibodies. The hope is to protect people from the illness without them having to go through exposure to the disease, which can be deadly.
Herd immunity is also known as population immunity and is indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune through vaccination or previous infection. For herd immunity to be effective, 95% of the population must be vaccinated in the case of measles. For polio, only 80% of the population must be vaccinated. The remaining percent of unvaccinated individuals will be protected due to the fact that the disease will not spread among those that are vaccinated. When it comes to COVID-19, we have no idea what percentage is required to reach herd immunity, but we are starting with the most in danger and vulnerable populations first. Vaccines have been successful over the years and they have kept our populations safe.