Anjali Patel Professor Wells Expository Writing I 21 November 2017 Vaccine Safety Vaccines are something most people receive for almost their entire lives. From just a few days old most people start getting vaccinated and continue to do so until the very late stages of their lives. However, some people are skeptical about vaccines and stop vaccinating themselves and their children, mainly over concerns with safety and a lack of understanding due to misleading information or a lack of information. The Centers For Disease Control, or the CDC, define vaccine as, A product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease. Vaccines are usually administered through needle injections, but can also be administered by mouth or sprayed into the nose. (cdc.gov) Vaccines are a medical service that aid in the health of so many people everywhere. The benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks associated with them, so people who are able to should get vaccinated. One of these biggest reasons opponents are hesitant regarding vaccines is that they do not truly understand what a vaccine is or how it works. MD and director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center Nicola P. Klein explains, “Vaccines contain a low number of antigens, the parts of germs that cause the body’s immune system to respond.” (Klein) This in turn prepares the body for exposure to the real virus which can cause illness. By injecting the antigen into the body, the person’s immune system will know how to fight off the real virus if it ever encounters it. With this, some people begin to get concerned that they body is being overworked or over loaded with antigens, however this is not true. The number of antigens a vaccine contains is miniscule compared to number of germs a child is exposed to on a daily basis, especially if they are going to school. This holds true even when children are receiving multiple vaccines in a short time period, as this tends to be the case in early childhood. (Klein) Another common reason some people may not vaccinate their children is that they have heard that vaccines cause autism, a myth that has been debunked. This myth arose from a study on the MMR (measles mumps and rubella) vaccine conducted in 1998 that connected the vaccine to autism. However, the study was later found to be very flawed and fraudulent to the point where the medical journal retracted the study. (who.int) The CDC and other organizations have since performed a multitude of studies on this since then and they have all come back with the same result, vaccines do not cause autism. One of the main ingredients looked into during these studies was thimerosal. Thimerosal is a “mercury-based preservative used to prevent contamination of multidose vials of vaccines” (cdc.gov). However, the studies all state that there is no connection between thimerosal and autism spectrum disorder. “In fact, a 2004 scientific review by the IOM concluded that the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal–containing vaccines and autism.”‘ (cdc.gov) All of the evidence points towards vaccines not causing autism spectrum disorder, and there possibly not even being a connection between the two. Thus, when looking into the actual facts and medical studies, the fear of vaccines causing autism spectrum disorder should not be an actual reason for parents to be deterred from vaccinating their children. Vaccines are also extensively studied by a variety of people, all of which ensure that anything being put out onto the market is safe. When new vaccines are created they are tested with three phases of clinical trials before being mass produced for the public. These clinical trials ensure the that the vaccine is both safe and effective. However, the studies do not end after the vaccine is put on the market. Even after the vaccine is being administered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC monitor side effects of the vaccine to make sure everything is going as it should. In fact, the agencies came together to in 1990 establish The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, VAERS, which helps track the side effects of vaccines. It receives around 30,000 events every year. (historyofvaccines.org) The CDC states that they use VAERS to Detect new, unusual, or rare vaccine adverse events, Monitor increases in known adverse events, Identify potential patient risk factors for particular types of adverse events, Identify vaccine lots with increased numbers or types of reported adverse events, Assess the safety of newly licensed vaccines. (historyofvaccines.org)It is not like these vaccines are forgotten about as soon as people start getting them. In addition to being studied before being put on the market, they are studied and observed afterwards. Overall, vaccines are intensely studied to insure they provide the maximum safety and miniscule side effects.While vaccines are extensively studied, there are some side effects that come with them. Most of these side effects are temporary and miniscule. They include a slight fever or tenderness at the injection site. However, there are some people that do experience serious or even fatal side effects. One very uncommon but fatal side effect is encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain. However, the Centers for Disease Control reports that about 90 percent of vaccine side effects are in fact not serious. (Rachael Rettner) It is also important to keep in mind that not all of the side effects one may report after being vaccinated are actually caused by the vaccines, there are many other environmental factors that could be causing them and they just happened to showed up right around the same time as the immunization. So even though people are reporting adverse effects to a vaccine, those effects may not actually result from the vaccine, but from something else. Vaccines provide many benefits that most people enjoy. Infact most people do choose to get vaccinated and vaccinate their children. In the United States 93.7% of children between 19 and 35 months of age received the polio vaccine and 91.9% received the Measles Mumps and Rubella vaccine. (cdc.gov) So they majority of people are choosing to vaccinate their children. This shows that most people do in fact trust vaccines or the vaccination rates would not be this high. (IM NOT 100% SURE WHERE TO PUT THIS NEXT PART BUT I THINK HERE MIGHT WORK) California’s governor declared a state of Emergency in October 2017 due to a hepatitis A outbreak that has become deadly. “California is currently experiencing the largest person-to-person hepatitis A outbreak in the United States since the hepatitis A vaccine became available in 1996” (cdph.ca.gov). This deadly outbreak is most likely to impact the homeless and illicit drug users, both groups of people who are unlikely to have been vaccinated against hepatitis. Thus, being vaccinated will only help you in case of an outbreak, as they do still happen every now and then. Vaccines also aid in the overall safety of people everywhere. Smallpox, for example, is a disease that caused a lot of concern fifty or more years ago. However, thanks to vaccines, now the disease has been eradicated on a global level. This was possible due to vaccines. The disease has a fatality rate of between 30% to 40% and is caused by the Variola major or Variola minor virus. However, thanks to people getting vaccinated, there has not been a case of smallpox recorded since the late 1970s which was in Somalia. As with all vaccines, there are some risks associated with the smallpox vaccines. “For every million people vaccinated for smallpox, between 14 and 52 could have a life-threatening reaction to smallpox vaccine” (historyofvaccines.org). When taking that number into perspective, it is miniscule, especially for a disease with a fatality rate as high as it is. Without vaccines and the cooperation of people getting vaccinated, this disease would not have been able to been eradicated and would still be claiming lives. Not everyone is able to get vaccinated, so those who can should in order to protect herd immunity. Herd immunity, also known as community immunity, is when a specific minimum percent of the population or higher is vaccinated and thus stops outbreaks of diseases from occurring. This is very important as not everyone is able to receive vaccines. Most vaccines have recommended ages to receive the vaccine at. So the infant population is especially at risk in case of an outbreak as they have only received certain vaccines depending on their age. For example, you normally do not get your first dose of the hepatitis a vaccine until one year of age. Also, certain groups of the population who are immunocompromised, such as those undergoing chemotherapy are unable to be vaccinated and cannot be vaccinated. These groups of people are all at high risk of getting ill if there were an outbreak because they are not protected. To those who are immunocompromised this is especially important because their body will be less likely to fight off illness. So in order to protect these people, anyone who is able to should receive their vaccines. It is important that they do this, because herd immunity is only effective at stopping outbreaks if enough of the population is vaccinated. In addition, to getting vaccinated for the safety of others, one should get vaccinated because it helps them remain healthy. By getting immunized, someone is much less likely to become seriously ill when coming in contact with an illness because their body already knows how to fight the virus. Everyone wants to be healthy, and vaccines help with. Diseases such as measles can be deadly for those who have not been vaccinated. In fact the World Health Organization has reported, “Measles vaccination resulted in a 84% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2016 worldwide” (who.org). This shows that people can easily decrease their chance an early death from happening by getting vaccinated, as prior to vaccines the mortality rate for measles was very high and the disease is very contagious. Now, only 1 or 2 children for every 100 children infected with measles die. Overall, people need to get their vaccines for their own, personal benefit.Overall, vaccines are something people tend to feel very strongly about. I personally think that everyone who is able to, should get vaccinated. Vaccines have proven to come with minimal risk, and by getting immunized you protect both yourself and your community. The risks that are associated with vaccines are greatly outweighed by the benefits that they provide. They aid in reducing the mortality rates of diseases as well as promote overall health among people. Due to the many advantageous aspects of vaccines, I encourage people to get their vaccines as recommended by their doctors.