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Vaccinations

photo of a young boy pretending to give a young girl a shot in the armVaccination triggers the individual’s immune system with a small dose of biological matter that causes a specific illness. The process of inoculation provides the patient with immunity to the disease. According to “Killing Germs, Saving Lives: The Quest for the First Vaccines,” (2006) patients have benefited from vaccinations for hundreds of years. Today, vaccines for almost forty illnesses that could occur by mid-life protect most children. Vaccinating the child and maintaining vaccine boosters throughout life offers a host of health advantages to the patient. Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine offers vaccines needed to protect patients of all ages against serious diseases.

Most parents and individuals agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations about vaccine schedules for children. Others ask why their children should be vaccinated when, to the casual observer, most of the deadly diseases vaccines seek to protect patients against are eradicated. Although outbreaks of some of these diseases are rare in comparison to the past, it is still possible to contract a dangerous illness. Vaccinations against these diseases are therefore still recommended for both short and long-term benefits to the patient and the community in which he or she lives.

History of Vaccines

Edward Jenner developed the first human vaccine against smallpox in 1798. He learned that when a person as exposed to cowpox, he could protect the individual from the more serious illness of smallpox. In 1885, the rabies vaccine was developed. Then, in 1964, public health officials in the United States formed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in order to advise the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about necessary vaccines. In the 1980s, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was made into law to protect children against potentially harmful vaccines. This law requires health care providers to immediately report any problems experienced in practice and protects children throughout the country.

Vaccination Function

Vaccines prevent most people from suffering the symptoms of serious diseases. The last known smallpox case was reported in 1977. The last case of polio (known as ‘wild polio’ because it was contracted by a carrier) was reported in 1979. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), no vaccine is effective one hundred percent of the time. Pertussis and tuberculosis vaccines have been available in the United States since the 1920s but cases are still reported each year: CDC reports more than ten thousand cases of pertussis and more than thirteen thousand tuberculosis cases in the past year.

Day Care and School Requirements

Most schools and day care facilities require vaccinations to be given to a child on a standard schedule. However, the National Vaccine Information Center reports that all fifty states provide some exemptions from vaccines. For instance, if the child’s immediate relations experienced a reaction to a certain vaccine, the CDC says it’s best not to give that vaccine to the child.

Importantly, the CDC continues to recommend vaccination against these diseases. This is because vaccination of all children prevents the numbers of potential individuals affected in a wild outbreak of disease. The rewards of vaccination continue to outweigh the risks for most people. Medical science is best able to prevent the patient from contracting a disease with available vaccines. It is more difficult to develop a certain cure for any disease.

Community Health Considerations

Public health officials know that the individual’s vaccination protects the people living around him or her. For instance, polio and diphtheria are preventable illnesses because individuals are vaccinated against them. In an actual outbreak in which non-vaccinated persons are exposed to either disease, both are highly contagious. Persons who aren’t vaccinated against these germs can and will spread disease to others. But when the greatest percentages of people living in a community are vaccinated against a disease, the transmission rate greatly declines. Public officials call a decline in illness within a vaccinated community herd immunity.

Some individuals can’t receive vaccines because of relatives’ reactions or known medical conditions (including individuals who have received organ transplants). These individuals may need to take medications that suppress immunity or have allergies to ingredients in a vaccine. Individuals who can’t receive immunizations are therefore protected against contracting serious illnesses because most of the people around them are immunized. Patients should notify Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine about any known allergies or immune system issues before receiving a vaccine shot.

Conclusion

Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine believes that the benefits of vaccines protect most patients’ health outcomes throughout life. Vaccination may be contraindicated for some individuals, and patients should always discuss concerns about any health topic. Patients living in North Atlanta, including Roswell, Alpharetta, Cumming, Dawsonville, Suwanee, Johns Creek, and throughout South Forsyth, Gwinnett and North Fulton counties should consult Dr. Zack Charkawi today at 770-771-6591.