Why do we vaccinate?

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

Vaccinations are always a hot topic, there is still so much misinformation and mistrust about it. But let's start from the beginning, what are vaccines and what are they for? Vaccines serve to stimulate the immune system and the production of antibodies, which are defensive agents against viruses and bacteria that allow us to protect ourselves from potentially dangerous and deadly diseases. They are composed of dead or attenuated microorganisms, which therefore do not have the ability to initiate infection but stimulate the production of antibodies. Before use, all vaccine compounds are subjected to strict controls that guarantee a high level of safety. However, it is impossible to exclude the onset of important (in any case extremely rare) side effects that must be reported to the doctor or the vaccination service. So why vaccinate? In pediatric age there are many infectious diseases, but vaccines against those without gravity are not proposed. However, there are dangerous infections that can have serious consequences or even be fatal. These are the diseases to be vaccinated against. The vaccine is in fact much safer than the disease itself, the chances of developing a serious adverse event to the vaccine are extremely lower than those of being affected by the infection and developing major complications. For good protection, however, the majority of the population must be vaccinated, the vaccination coverage recommended by the WHO for good herd immunity is 95%. The current reduction in vaccination coverage in Italy has led to an increase in cases of some diseases (such as measles) and will lead to the reappearance of diseases that are now eradicated in our country but still present in the world (such as diphtheria and poliomyelitis). This is why the vaccination obligation, which has not changed the calendar or timing. It simply made vaccines once recommended, mandatory. It is important to get vaccinated both to protect our children and those less fortunate, who due to health problems find themselves unable to undergo the vaccine. In this case, vaccination is not only a protection for the individual child but an act of solidarity that allows the improvement of public health.


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