From April 24 to April 30, "World Immunization Week", promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO). This year's motto is "Collectively Protected: Vaccines Work!" and the aim is "to raise awareness of the fundamental importance of achieving full immunization throughout life". Immunization is the most important health intervention of the last century: helps prevent diseases, injuries and deaths through vaccination.
What is vaccination?
The vaccination is preventive measures to control and even eradicate diseasesWhen we become ill, our immune system protects us by attacking the agents that attack us and at the same time preserving the memory that, if this same agent attacks us again, we have a faster and more effective defense. This is the main purpose of vaccines: train our body so that it is ready to attack as soon as possible the agent that causes the disease,
But vaccination not only favors the vaccinated person. The most important thing from a social point of view is that a high percentage of the population is actually vaccinated, contributing to what is called "collective immunity". There is collective immunity when the population is protected from disease because the individuals that make it are mostly immune to it,
That is, if a certain disease develops over the population but many immunized individuals are on its way, the chain is cut off and the chance of a susceptible individual (such as a baby or an adult who can not be vaccinated) is reduced) to meet an infected individual and get infected.
so There comes a moment when the transmission slows down and we defend each otherWhen an outbreak occurs, the greater the number of vaccinated individuals, the lower the disease development in the entire community as it slows down its spread when it does not detect susceptible individuals. That is why the National Vaccination Calendar is mandatory (in accordance with Law 22909).
A little story
Edward Jenner, known as the father of vaccination, was the one who in 1796 used the first vaccine to stop the spread of smallpox that was eradicated in the late 1970s. To say that it is eradicated means it is clear and simple that there is no more on the face of the earth the virus that produces this disease causes the deaths of millions of people. No other medical care has been able to remove the disease before.
Jenner achieved the first cow virus vaccine, which is very similar to smallpox (so they are called vaccines, from Latin)VacaIts inoculation in humans does not cause symptoms but protects us from the disease.
Since then, more than 200 years have passed, during which vaccination has taken place This has made it possible to control diseases that cause many deaths worldwide. In particular, between 1900 and 1973, developed countries included vaccines in a massive manner and in 1974 the WHO performed Enhanced immunization program to take vaccination in developing countries to control some diseases in the region, such as measles.
However, there are some criticisms of vaccination. The most famous story comes from an article published in 1998 in the magazine The Lancet, in which a group of scientists studied a group of children and provided vaccination induced by autism.
However, The UK General Medical Council commenced an investigation which ended with the annulment of that articleon the one hand, it was established that the children had been subjected to procedures without ethical approval and, on the other hand, that they intended to profit from the possible revocation of the vaccines. This shows new studies conducted in populations with a larger number of individuals There is no connection between vaccine and autism.
Another popular criticism is that vaccines are toxic because they carry mercury. It is true that some vaccines have a thiomersal which is a mercury-containing compound and is used to keep vaccines and prevent their contamination from the 1930s. this medicine is processing for ethereal, a safe substance for our body and not to methylmercury, which is a toxic substance reported.
As we can see, the initial idea of vaccination is to control the epidemic that tortured humanity 200 years ago. When some of them managed to be controlled and overall fear diminished, vaccination gradually lost its leading role and we were again in danger because of illnesses, paradoxically, we know perfectly how to prevent and control.
It is therefore essential to have universal health policies that constantly accompany vaccination campaigns to avoid new disease outbreaks – even those that appear to be controlled – that find people who are susceptible to spreading.
* Biologist (UBA)