Leonora Arditti, a doctor, explains why the vaccine changed the history of human health and how not to vaccinate affects the whole society.
In the late eighteenth century, smallpox was a very feared plague in Europe and America, because it caused great mortality and there was no treatment against it. An English doctor named Edward Jenner observed that it was common for people who milked cows to suffer from benign pustules in their hands, having been in contact with the udders of cows infected by a form similar to human smallpox, called “variola vaccina” or cowpox. Jenner noticed those suffering from these pustules then they were safe from getting sick from common pox. That is, they became immune. Jenner decided to test that observation and had the idea of inoculating a healthy person with cowpox to confer immunity to the dangerous disease. Although the vaccine developed by Jenner was initially attacked by the scientific community, It did not take long to demonstrate its spectacular results. Almost 2 centuries later smallpox was declared officially eradicated from the planet, in the year 1980.
In 1885, almost 100 years after Jenner’s discovery, Louis Pasteur successfully tested his rabies vaccine in a child who had been bitten by a dog suffering from hydrophobia.
In the mid-twentieth century, Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine, using killed or inactivated viruses, followed a few years later by the vaccine developed by Albert Sabin, which was administered orally and was made with live and attenuated viruses. These two vaccines almost made disappear that terrible disease that left such serious consequences in children who managed to survive it.
A vaccine is a preparation that contains an infectious agent or part of it, inactivated or weakened, and that, inoculated in the patient, is able to produce in this an immune response. Through this procedure, the body acquires an “immunological memory” that will allow it to respond to an eventual contact of the recipient with the infectious agent against which it has been immunized.
Even if some vaccines do not produce total immunity against a particular infectious agent, and the person does indeed become ill when exposed to the pathogen, it may generate a sufficient immune response to avoid the most serious forms of the infection, as well as the complications that could occur.
A vaccine, like any other medicine, once released to the market is subject to strict supervision: this is called pharmacovigilance
Pharmacovigilance is the public health activity whose objective is the identification, evaluation and prevention of the risks of the use of pharmacological treatments once commercialized. Therefore, it is dedicated to making decisions that allow maintaining the risk / benefit ratio of medicines in a favorable situation, or even suspending their use when this is not possible. In our country it is the National System of Pharmacovigilance, in charge of the National Administration of Medicine, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT), which carries out this task.
In 1998, the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet published an article that related to the MMR or triple viral vaccine, which protects against measles, rubella and parotitis, with autism. Although it was later shown to be a fraud and its author, Andrew Wakefield was expelled from the British Medical College, he managed to cause a lot of damage.
Parents fearful of the side effects attributed to this vaccine by the aforementioned study stopped vaccinating their children, causing outbreaks of these diseases, whose complications can be serious. In the case of measles, for example, encephalitis and pneumonia are likely life-threatening complications.
Since the publication of Wakefield’s article in The Lancet, the so-called “anti-vaccine groups” have gained strength , not only in the United Kingdom but throughout the world. Naturalist groups that claim that suffering from the disease is more innocuous than receiving “a chemical” in the body . And that, trusting in the state of immunization of the rest, for which they would benefit indirectly from the vaccines, they stop vaccinating their children putting at risk the entire population.
In developed countries, where these dangerous movements are growing strongly, there have been outbreaks of diseases that have not appeared for decades, suchas diphtheria in Spain that claimed the life of a 6-year-old boy who had not been vaccinated. year 2015. The last case of diphtheria had been registered in Spain in 1987.
In our country, vaccination is not an option, it is mandatory. Law 22909 establishes that all the inhabitants of the country must comply with the vaccination schedule, except for duly founded and accredited medical reasons this is not possible. Therefore, whoever does not vaccinate their children without justification, incurs a crime.
In 2012, the Supreme Court of Justice of our country intimated the parents of a minor, belonging to an anti-vaccination movement, to effectively comply with the official vaccination schedule under the warning of compulsory vaccination.
Not vaccinating a child can not only harm him, but also those around him, as group immunization is weakened
Not vaccinating our children is an irresponsible act, lacking any scientific basis and that puts at risk the entire community , especially those who are more vulnerable, children under 1 year who have not yet completed their plans by age. pregnant, immunosuppressed.
“Vaccinate your children. Juan will not come back because I write, but maybe I’ll save one more child “
We can not help but notice that the dilemma of vaccination belongs to privileged sectors: the less favored ones can not afford that luxury. There the problem lies in how to get the vaccine to as many people as possible to avoid deaths.
Vaccination is not debatable. The overwhelming evidence that it has been and is one of the most powerful tools we have to fight communicable diseases is irrefutable
To defend the idea that vaccines do harm is to defend a fallacy, a dangerous lie, that can not, for more democracy and rights to which they are appealing, to allow themselves. Because the health of the population, and the right of children not to get sick from preventable causes go first.
They fear that polio will return because of anti-vaxxers
And even when it was possible (or not) to discuss the efficacy or safety of a particular vaccine, it is impossible to deny that vaccination has been one of the most spectacular and significant discoveries in the history of mankind. And humbly thank those who like Jenner, Pasteur, Sabin, Salk and many others dedicated their lives to leave us as a legacy to this invaluable ally of medicine, the vaccine.
The Mazatlan Post