Just like how we are told to wear seatbelts while driving to keep us safe if an accident were to occur, vaccines provide lifelong immunity, protection to vulnerable people of our community, and reduce risk of catching a disease. Millions of individuals are vaccinated every year without any side effects. Vaccines save countless numbers of people by protecting them from diseases that can result in permanent complications or death that could have been prevented with vaccines.
Vaccines decrease the risk of certain illnesses by injecting dead or weakened versions of the disease into our immune system that triggers the production of antibodies to create immunity. Vaccines are designed to trick our bodies into creating immunity without causing us to be sick. Thanks to vaccines, smallpox has been eradicated and has nearly eradicated the wild polio virus. Of course, just like with any medical procedure and medication, vaccines can cause side effects in some individuals. However, the risk of getting mild side effects are better than risking getting sick with the disease.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “most childhood vaccines are 90% to 99% effective in preventing disease. And if a vaccinated child does get the disease, the symptoms are usually less serious than in a child who did not get the vaccine and got sick from the disease.” Vaccines not only protect the people getting immunized, but protect vulnerable people in our community that cannot be immunized, like infants, immunocompromised individuals, and pregnant women. Herd immunity arises when enough people in the community are vaccinated, diminishing the chances of an outbreak. Unfortunately, if people are relying on herd immunity to protect themselves and refuse to get the vaccine when they are able to, herd immunity will perish. Every member of the community should take responsibility and do their part to protect themselves and others.