Are Vaccines Being Overlooked?

Brody Harlow

Aspirus Urgent Care in Plover, WI providing Covid 19 vaccines and other vaccinations.

Think about it when you go in for your yearly flu shot.  I’m betting you think nothing of it. However, getting vaccinated is very important for protecting you and others around you. Most people take the creation of vaccines for granted, even though they are very beneficial for the world population. 

How Do Vaccines Work 

Most people don’t understand how vaccines work, even though it is quite simple and very effective. Vaccines work by injecting inactive or weekend parts of a virus into the body that  they are trying to protect from becoming infected. The reason for the weakened virus is so that your body doesn’t have a full out reaction like if you were exposed to the disease naturally. From here, your body starts creating antibodies.

 Even with this weekend or inactive virus, your body can still use it to produce antibodies to help fight off being exposed to the full potential of the virus the vaccine is protecting you against. Antibodies are cells that are specifically programmed to fight off the cells that they are made to attack. Each antibody is made to target a specific cell, explained the CDC. Once it is trained, it goes right into action to fight off the virus. “You can consider antibodies as the soldiers in your body’s defense system.” explained The World Health Organization. 

How Do They Help Your Body Fight Off Unwanted Cells

 The CDC explains it by saying  “When the human body is exposed to an antigen [cell the body does not want] for the first time, it takes time for the immune system to respond and produce antibodies specific to that antigen.” For this reason, it is important to get vaccinated. This is because your body has already produced the antibodies to fight the antigen. This helps your body to fight the virus faster since your body isn’t wasting time trying to start from scratch making antibodies. When you receive a vaccine your body already has an idea of what cells it needs to create to fight off the bad cells. Antibodies also produce memory cells that remain alive even after the pathogen is defeated by the antibodies. This is important because if they don’t do this all the hard work goes down the drain. Your body would have to start all over again. Luckily, this is not the case since your body will still hold onto these cells and wait until they are needed again. When you receive a vaccine, your body already has an idea of what cells it needs to create in order to fight off the bad cells. 

Why Are Vaccines So Important

One of the greatest medical inventions created are vaccines. They provide protection against many harmful and even deadly viruses. The CDC shows their importance by saying that “Vaccines are one of the greatest success stories… in public health.” This is no exaggeration as vaccines are an amazing medical creation that many take for granted. Vaccines have saved many lives and reduced the number of deaths and illnesses from a specific disease.  The creation of vaccines is very beneficial to the health of the world population. Many don’t think about how important they are, especially in today’s society due to Covid 19.

Vaccines Can Not Just Protect You But They Can Help Protect Others 

Vaccines are not just good at protecting the person who receives the vaccination but they can also protect people who have not been vaccinated. This is important because not all people can receive vaccines due to other health concerns. How can a vaccine protect the people who can’t receive them? It provides protection because those that have been vaccinated may not spread the virus as easily to unvaccinated individuals.  This works because those vaccinated people whose immune system has seen the virus before are able to fight the virus faster, which in return can reduce the amount of time they can spread it to those who are not vaccinated. 

Impacts On The World 

Throughout history, vaccines have had a large impact in our world and are still impacting us every day. They have stopped one of the most deadly diseases,  the spread of Smallpox.  Smallpox was a deadly virus that spread quickly and caused people to experience flu-like symptoms only worse.  The disease also resulted in a severe rash. It killed more than 300 million people. It was officially eradicated in 1980, says  an article from . Another well known virus that is on its way to be eradicated is the Polio virus. Polio is another disease controlled through the use of vaccines. When spread, Polio can result in leaving the affected person paralyzed. In 1952, 3,145 people died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis, with most of the victims being children. Luckily due to the vaccine there have been no recorded Polio cases in the US since 2015 says which gave data on this topic. 

Why Do Some Choose Not To Get Vaccinated

Some people choose not to get vaccinated even though it can affect not just them but others around them. For example only 50.3% of the word population is vaccinated against Covid 19 according to Some of the reasons people choose not to get vaccinated is because they are unsure of the safety of the vaccine. When asked when she received her Covid vaccine, Madison Tepp (A SPASH student), responded by saying “My family did wait longer than most to receive the vaccine because they wanted to wait and see how it affected people. We wanted to play it safe in a way.” While a valid concern, vaccines are like many other treatments. Similar to other drugs, vaccines undergo many tests to make them as safe and as effective as they can be. They also keep tabs on vaccines when they are released. Vaccines go through many stages until fit to resice to the public.  They then see how the public reacts and can make changes if needed. 

Others say they don’t want to have a bad reaction from the shot. Madison also explained in my interview that her family no longer receives a flu shot for this reason. “Ever since me and my sister were younger, we have had bad reactions to  the flu  shot so we stopped getting them.” I explained to Madison that this is due to your body trying to fight off the weekend sample of the virus. This is what you want to happen, this means that your body is trying to come up with the right cells to combat the bad cells that entered your body. You have to think, would you rather feel bad for one or two days or not have the antibodies built up and risk feeling worse when you get the full dose of the virus when exposed to it naturally. After this, she said that she would consider receiving a flu shot next year.

Most people overlook the creation of the modern vaccine. They can help slow or almost stop a virus in its tracks. It does take time to develop and test vaccines to be sure that they are safe and effective for all since everyone can  react to them differently. However, when they are effective they can have a great impact in our communities. As we have recently seen, schools like SPASH can benefit from vaccines.  If more people were vaccinated against Covid 19, we would likely have a decrease in the number of positive cases and fewer people absent because of a positive Covid 19 infection.