Nowadays, misinformation can be the most significant factor in the hesitation toward advances in medicine. An example of this is apprehension in getting vaccinated. There are many conspiracy theories regarding the effects of a vaccine, preventing those who believe in them from receiving access to a cure. Even as doctors try to debunk the false information spreading on the internet, the damage has already been done.
One of the susceptible forms of deception on the internet is the effectiveness of vaccines. There are several different vaccines people can take for the illnesses that can be vaccinated against. However, due to comparisons of the effectivity rate of each one, people prefer one over the other, and this predilection has an impact on how fast herd immunity can be reached.
The Goal of a Vaccine
Herd immunity is the ultimate goal of a vaccination campaign. Once enough people get vaccinated, the disease will have fewer individuals to thrive in, meaning that it can eventually disappear. This is the solution that modern medicine offers the world, and it is up to everyone to accept the gift.
What Happens When You Get a Shot
A vaccine contains a deactivated or partially active form of the virus or bacteria that causes the disease (pathogen). Since the goal of the vaccine is immunity, the inoculation of the deactivated or partially active pathogen alerts your immune system. It raises the alarms on something that is not as severe compared to a fully active pathogen. The vaccine will also only contain some pathogens, but lesser than what a person can be unintentionally infected by, which should be easier for your body to get rid of.
When you get vaccinated and your body’s immune system is alerted, it starts to produce antibodies. You already had antibodies before you got inoculated, but each antibody will only attack specific pathogens. Therefore, the newly produced antibodies are specific to what you are vaccinated against. They will attach to the pathogen, deactivating them for some of your white blood cells to consume and destroy. These white blood cells are known as phagocytes (where “phago” is Greek for “to eat”).
In a few days, your body would have overcome a few pathogens and, in turn, the disease. This is a lot safer compared to being exposed to the illness in an infected person. The transmission that they will cause will involve a high number of pathogens, too many for your body’s immune system to take on without proper preparation. Vaccines prevent your body from being overwhelmed when this happens because they will have antibodies and white blood cells on alert. It will be easier for them to take on the pathogens with a vigilant immune system.
Studies on the Effectivity
Nothing gets approved for everyone’s use unless they are tested. For instance, drugs undergo clinical trials that involve healthy patients. You can sign up for these clinical trials. You would be part of the studies beyond the frontier of medicine in an attempt to extend it wide enough for people to have access. Brave and healthy individuals who volunteer would contribute to the statistic that modern medicine is effective and can make lives better.
In the same way, all vaccines undergo trials. Each study has its own objectives, which can affect the statistical efficacy of the vaccine; the percentage of disease reduction among patients in trials. This is different from the effectiveness of the vaccine, which looks at how effective it is in reducing the number of people affected by a disease. If you are familiar with statistics, you would be aware of the biases that make up a reported statistic. That is why any vaccine is a good vaccine.
No matter what is the reported efficacy rate of a vaccine, the important thing is that you have access to it. It is the chance you take against an invisible enemy. As mentioned earlier, you would be taking on the risk of your immune system being unable to fully protect you when you do not get vaccinated. It would be like sending soldiers to war without any guns or living in a dangerous neighborhood without any protection. You need any help you can get against an unknown adversary that puts you and your family at risk for death.
Again, take any vaccine that you have access to. It has undergone trials that were considered before being approved for everyone to be inoculated with. Once you get vaccinated, you will be contributing to the herd immunity that frees people up from health protocols that interfere with how you can enjoy your life.