Importance of Vaccination
Vaccination is credited today as the most effective means of infectious disease prevention. Colloquially, it is used almost interchangeably with “immunization” as the act of vaccinating does provide either temporary or permanent immunity against specific types of diseases. Its name was derived from the Latin “vacca” which referred to cows because Louis Pasteur developed the very first vaccine for smallpox from his research on the cowpox virus.
Historically, there were various accounts dating back to the 1700’s when the Turks, and other people from Britain and Germany, as well as in China and India, made their own attempts in preventing smallpox via inoculation of fluids from milder cases of smallpox. Thanks to vaccinations, countless lives are saved yearly all over the world from deadly infectious diseases.
Today, various vaccines have already been developed and have been proven effective in preventing bacterial, viral, protozoan, helminthiasis, and other types of infections. The US and other first-world nations have been very successful in the reduction, if not elimination, of a number of infectious diseases that continue to affect other countries. Other countries around the world have also come to realize the importance of vaccinations especially among children such that the first 2 years of the life of babies are also spent in monthly vaccinations and booster shots. In the United States, these include vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, rotavirus, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DTaP), homophiles influenza type B, pneumococcal (PPSV), polio (IPV), measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), and chickenpox (varicella). Adult vaccinations for DTaP,IPV, PPSV, MMR, varicella, meningococcal (MCV), human papilloma virus (HPV), and the annual influenza shots are now also available. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) asserts that vaccine-preventable infections have both economic and social costs such as missed school for children and lost work time for parents, as well as costs related to hospitalizations, medicine, doctor consult, and worse, premature deaths.
An example of a successful immunization program is in Clark County, Nevada. This program has made all the child and adult vaccines available in the health district setting. According to the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) disease statistics for the 4Q 2010, the prevalence for vaccine-preventable diseases such as Hepatitis A and B, influenza, measles, and mumps were significantly lower than the aggregate quarterly rate from 2005 up to 2009. There were also zero incidence for diphtheria, polio, rubella, and tetanus since 4Q 2008.
According to the 2009 SNHD Report to the Community, the district scored a 90% compliance rating on adolescent immunization booster dose for DTaP and a 10% improvement rate in terms of child vaccination. Moreover, more than 60,000 hepatitis A vaccines and 14,000 TB skin tests have been administered to people requiring a health card. Also, more than 23,000 hepatitis B and HBIG birth doses were provided to birthing centers in the district.