Through the course of civilization, Man had to fight many odds to survive. In the process of getting civilized, Man brought about many inventions and discoveries, to change the course of his life, and the life of the future generation. One such invention was vaccinations. This invention of vaccines was significant, as the world at that time was plagued by lethal and fatal diseases that had no cure.
A vaccine is a biological substrate that is designed to provide immunity to a particular disease. The first ever vaccine against a deadly disease was invented by Edward Jenner in 1797, for smallpox (Smith 2011, p21). Today, thanks to his invention, the disease has been eradicated from the world. After Jenner, numerous vaccines were developed for various diseases and their variants, such as Measles, Polio, Chicken Pox, Tetanus, Influenza, Malaria, Ebola, etc.
Vaccines are man-made boons to the society, which enable humans fight diseases and enable them live healthy. Vaccines can be best described as Man’s survival instinct, for if not for vaccines; the human race would have become extinct long back. In this essay, the significance of vaccines, and the social, economical, and scientific aspects of it of are discussed.
A society is group of individuals living together under similar conditions. When a disease affects the society, all activity is hampered; vaccinating the entire society enables it both to resist the disease and fight it. The effectiveness of vaccines is not measured in individuals, but amidst a large sector of population, depending on “herd immunity” (Mallory, Lindesmith & Baric 2018, p64). Vaccines do cause a few symptoms in healthy people; this must not be mistaken as the ill-effects of vaccination.
The social decisions made on vaccination help the entire community be resistant to deadly diseases. It is important to health-educate the entire society on the benefits of vaccination, and to ensure that all people in the society are administered their mandatory vaccines. This would prevent the increase of the “anti-vaccination movement”, which would prove to be a very costly mistake to the society at large.
Vaccines are important for a stable society, so that it can stay healthy. A healthy society is a productive society, which would be a sustainable society as well (Finco & Rappuoli 2014, p12). Thus, vaccinations must be encouraged for all, which would enable even those who cannot be vaccine due to medical reasons benefit by herd immunity.
The economy of every society depends on the well being and productivity of its members. If the people living in the society are healthy, the resources generated can be well spent. Sickness consumes a lot of time and money, not to mention the effort by the sick person’s caretakers, which drastically reduced their quality of life. Vaccines prevent a society from getting affected by deadly diseases, thus enabling better investment of money (Nichol 2011, p7554).
Previously, mass outbreaks of diseases would cripple the economy, as it would put a great strain on the state’s resources and healthcare facilities. A health scare in a society would mean closure of schools and public places, over working of healthcare staff, extra supply of food, water and other essentials, quarantine arrangements, and arrangements for the disposal of the dead (Freed et al. 2011, p1850).
In case of single infections, the affected family’s economy is disrupted, by treatment, caregiver, and compensatory costs. If the affected person is a child, his/her education is affected, thereby hampering his/her chances for a better future. Side effects of certain diseases such as poliomyelitis would leave the person with a lifelong disability, forcing them to endure healthcare costs throughout their lives (Mehndiratta, Mehndiratta & Pande 2014, p223). Proper vaccination is a one-time investment, not only in terms of money, but also in terms of health, and as an investment to the future at large.
Vaccines are a product of effective application of science. However, with scientific advancements, the developments of vaccines have also been progressive through the ages. Right from the procuring of the raw materials, to the development, to storage, and to maintaining the cold chain, science has to be used, and techniques have to be improved dynamically. Vaccines for newer diseases were able to be developed only with the development of science, and the speed in which the vaccines of a disease that had a very recent outbreak such as Ebola substantiates the fact that vaccines have a great impact on science, and vice versa (Kanapathipillai et al. 2014, p2249).
Another major significance is that vaccines prevent damage caused by bio-terrorism, by providing herd immunity. Bioterrorism is the gross misuse of scientific technology, by spreading the organisms that spread extinct deadly diseases into the society by bio-weapons. This is a threat that all must be aware of, and the only solution to such issues is a strong immunity of the entire society, thus defeating the bio-war (Koblentz 2009, p228).
Despite human development by leaps and bounds, a major issue that poses a threat to human survival at large is pseudoscience. By creating conspiracy theories against vaccines, and by following certain retracted and discredited research papers on the ill effects of vaccination, many people are victim to the anti-vaccination movement. This is a grave issue, as not vaccinating a set of people would reduce the herd immunity, and would cause the re-appearance of eradicated diseases. Not vaccinating one’s child could lead to serious disabilities and even death of the child, due to absent or reduced immunity (Orenstein & Ahmed 2017, p4031). Thus, it is important to defeat pseudoscience, and ensure all the vaccines are administered properly.
Human society thrives on the ability of its members to thrive, and sustain during adverse times. The development of vaccines was a breakthrough in the history of civilized mankind; they have enabled man defeat deadly diseases that were once lethal, by providing immunity against them. Time and again, new diseases keep appearing due to a multitude of reasons like antibiotic resistance, mutations, etc, and scientists keep inventing treatments and preventive vaccines for them. It is up to the society to acknowledge the benefits of vaccines, and administer all necessary vaccinations to children, keeping ones beliefs and doubts aside.
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Koblentz, G 2009, Living weapons: Biological warfare and international security, Cornell University Press.
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