Keeping Up On Your Vaccinations Isn’t Just Good For You, It’s Good For Your Community

Wold Immunization Week is almost over, but it’s not too late to get vaccinated. After all, it is one of the single most important things you can do for your health. Vaccines are responsible for rendering diseases that once infected hundreds of thousands of people impotent. They are a marvel of human ingenuity.

The benefits of vaccines are well-documented. According to the National Institutes of Health, both smallpox, diphtheria and polio have been eradicated from the United States after a vaccine was developed and made widely available. Other diseases, like measles, mumps and rubella, have been nearly banished from the country. Prior to a vaccine being developed, each of these diseases infected at least tens of thousands of people each year. In the case of measles, over 500,000 people in the United States would become infected. In 2009, that number was down to 71.

It’s true, though, that not all people can get vaccinated. The very young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems can’t get vaccinated. But that means that it’s all the more important for everyone who can get vaccinated, does get vaccinated.

There is this thing called herd or community immunity. It’s a pretty simple concept. If no one or not enough people are vaccinated against a disease, the easier it is for an outbreak to occur. If enough people are vaccinated, it stops the outbreak in its tracks. This protects those who can’t get vaccinated.

Stopping an infection is much less expensive than treating one. According to a 2005 study, for every dollar spent on childhood vaccinations, five dollars in direct costs were saved.

The benefits of childhood immunization are clear, and when someone mentions vaccination it’s easy to think only of children. But it’s actually incredibly important for teens and adults to be up-to-date on their immunizations, as well. That’s what this year’s World Immunization Day’s theme — “Are You Up-to-Date? — aims to promote. Some diseases the Centers for Disease Control recommend adults keep up-to-date on are seasonal flu, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, among others. The CDC also provides a handy vaccine schedule for children, teens and adults.

The whooping cough vaccine, or Tdap, has become increasingly important to stay up on in recent years. Every adult should get a Tdap jab if they didn’t have one as a child or adolescent, and then every 10 years after. But the reason it’s so important is because unfounded and debunked fears of vaccines have caused parents to refuse immunization. In turn, it is one of the factors causing whooping cough to come back and infect young children, sometimes leading to untimely deaths.

Remember herd immunity that I mentioned earlier? When the vaccination rate gets too low, the community’s resistance to an outbreak is weakened. Whooping cough isn’t the only problem. A new CDC report says that the first four months of 2014 have been the worst in terms of measles cases since 1996.

Both whooping cough and measles are contagious diseases that can significantly harm children. Luckily, these are also preventable diseases. There is no reason why we need to go back to the days high infant mortality. We have the means — safe, effective and economical means — of making lives better for everyone. You can help with that by getting your Tdap booster.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army Corp of Engineers via Flickr


Barbara D.
Past Member 1 years ago

What's it doing to the rest of your body? Exactly what vaccines have been doing for a couple centuries, namely providing immunity to preventable diseases.....and nothing else.
Ironically, as paranoid as some people are of pharmaceutical houses, pharmaceutical houses make medications for paranoia. Sadly, nothing yet for common sense....

Frank Hanline
Frank Hanline1 years ago

@MJ M: Wow, "Collecive Evolution"

There's a bona fide crackpot site.....

Um, ever want to see how your "all natural meal" is made?

MJ M.1 years ago

Frank Hanline
Frank Hanline2 years ago

Another thing Janice T, not even Vitamins are 100% safe

Nor is Oxygen

Frank Hanline
Frank Hanline2 years ago

@ Janice T: What are the shots doing to the rest of our bodies, for 99.9%, nothing

There is no evidence that getting a vaccination poses a risk

But if you want 100% safety, sorry, there's nothing that is 100% safe.

Seat Belts? nope, not 100% safe

Eating? Nope, not 100% safe

Food? Nope, not 100% safe

Running? Nope, not 100% safe

Can you think of something that is 100% safe?

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson2 years ago

Okay, you are protected, maybe from a few diseases, but what is this doing to the rest of your body?

Dennis D.
Dennis D.2 years ago

Darlene you are realty pulling out all the troll games. Own what you write. If nothing else quit trying to claim the other person posted your words. All you have done is strengthened the idea that you are not just intellectually dishonest, but an out right liar.

it is understood that facts, truth, and reality are not your friends. Seriously Darlene, you do not have to prove that you do not even have a nodding acquaintance with them either.

Diane L.
Diane L.2 years ago

Darlene, you have repeatedly said that your "clarification" was to my post made at 11:22 on July 15th. What I said in that comment was,..." Maybe I misunderstood your comment that I copied and pasted, but nobody has accused Mindy Townsend of practicing medicine without a license, at least not that I recall, nor was this article "retracted". What am I confused about? Were you referring to the "nay-sayers" comments and accusations?"........that was a response to Matt L's previous post. NOTE.............I never, EVER said Mindy Townsend was practicing without a license, not even CLOSE! Then, you posted, " "Mindy Townsend is a lawyer not a Doctor and begs the question of why a lawyer rather than a medical professional is writing an article advocating vaccines."

Darlene, now you are accusing me of saying what YOU said and are attempting to again "waffle" and explain it away by claiming to be only correcting ME. I never said it to begin with!

Diane L.
Diane L.2 years ago

Darlene, you said, " A clarification was made to Diane's comment on July 15th at 11:22 where she questioned if Ms. Townsend had been practicing medicine without a license. I pointed out she is a lawyer. There is nothing wrong with being a lawyer. I don't know how this is discrediting anyone by pointing out they are a lawyer and not a Doctor to set straight a question by Diane. I agree with Diane and Barbara that everyone is qualified to make a comment on vaccination choice and consent as everyone has to make this decision."..........see, once AGAIN, you got it all wrong. I never questioned anything. Where are you coming up with THIS? I read your response to me before I went offline, but didn't reply except to say I will not take your bait to argue or debate semantics. I never said she wasn't qualified, nor had I ever questioned her qualifications............YOU did, and I replied that she didn't have to be a medical professional to write about vaccinations. At least TRY to get it straight before you try to respond, and then PLEASE stop twisting around what you're trying to respond TO.

Diane L.
Diane L.2 years ago

"Anyone STILL reading this thread, please note that there are SOME here who will tell you that vaccines "can" cause horrific side effects, they will tell you that a child getting "measles" is no big deal and will tell you how to care for YOUR ill child."..........Mary B., thank you for that reminder. Yes, some kids float thru chicken pox with nothing worse than a rash and a slight fever. Others can be deathly ill. I have a close friend who contracted it at the age of 5 and instead of a rash externally, it was inside and on internal organs, resulting in his pancreas literally ceasing to function, thereby leaving him Type I Diabetic for life and insulin dependent. Yes, that was somewhat "rare", but so are side effects of vaccines. I had hard measles when I was 9 and I was very, VERY sick for well over a week. I wish they had vaccinations against that disease back when I was a toddler. I never had German Measles, nor Chicken Pox, so hopefully, I also won't get Shingles. Both my children were vaccinated, and all of my grandkids were. I'm hopefully not at risk at my age.