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11 Nov '17

Risks taken when avoiding vaccination

Posted by Sandra Sosa

Aside antibiotics, vaccines were among the most important medical advances during the last 200 years; decreasing mortality dramatically and leading to an increase of the population number as well life expectancy. There are no doubts, medicine history may be divided on two eras, pre-vaccination and post-vaccination.

Development of vaccines lead not only to the decrease of serious, potential lethal diseases but to virtually its disappearance, then illnesses such as polio, measles and rubella have not been seen in many countries at least during the last 40 years! 

Vaccination helped to control not only diseases but also their associated economic burden as well complications, saving millions of dollar to public health systems worldwide, diminishing illnesses sequelae (such as polio paralysis or rubella associated blindness) and overall increasing population quality of life. Nevertheless as with any other treatment, there are some risks associated to vaccination; especially during the first years of development.

Fortunately modern science and technology were able to achieve safer, cheaper and more effective vaccines which today are used worldwide with a complication rate lower than 1 in 1.000.000 cases; so with just 1 potential complicated patient among 1 million vaccinated people, benefits outweigh risks by Vaccination avoiding risksfar, and vaccines may be considered safer than a car trip. 

However in recent years some publications have stated an association between vaccines and autism disorders, as well other medical conditions; and even when there's no strong evidence to support such association, many parents have been concerned about this potential risk and decided to avoid vaccines on their kids.

Even when it's a respectable, personal decision; this behaviour have lead to re-emerging diseases with their potential complications. On the last five years, measles as well chickenpox outbreaks have been reported on countries where such diseases were practically eradicated.

Some people could state that this diseases have accompanied humankind for centuries, with almost no consequences; in fact, humanity achieve modernity despite the lack of vaccines; but ... Which was the children mortality rate before vaccination? How many people suffered long lasting complications because of vaccines preventable diseases? How many died because of viral diseases easily preventable with vaccination? Moreover, until the XVIII century most of people lived on rural, dispersed areas, limiting outbreaks expansion; but on modern, crowded urban areas where thousands, and sometimes millions of people live on a relative small area, there's nothing else than vaccination to avoid outbreaks; otherwise one first case could easily turn on hundreds just on a matter of hours!

That's a major concern for both society and public health authorities, but also it should be for those deciding to avoid vaccination because their children are in potential danger of death as well of suffering complications which will last forever due to preventable diseases.

Of course that vaccines complication risks must be considered; and they are! In fact there are hundreds of scientists working to render vaccines even safer than they are currently; furthermore, there's a strict surveillance to detect not only acute complications, but also delayed effects, and to the date no association have been demonstrated on serious, controlled, well conducted clinical trials between vaccines and autisms or any other serious disease.

As conclusion, it could be stated that vaccines benefits largely outweigh risks, so if you are thinking about avoiding vaccination, you must be aware that vaccines-avoidance risks are even higher than vaccination; so it's a matter to decide among the less risky situation. Now the last word is on you.

 


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