As we enter into Fall the ads and reminders about flu vaccines start to peak. Vaccinations have worked very well at controlling those diseases that they have been developed for. It took approximately 1000 years but the scourge of smallpox has been eliminated throughout the world. The last documented natural case was in 1977. Polio has almost been eliminated in countries that have had good sustained vaccination programs. The oral polio vaccination, a weakened live virus, has ceased being used because there were more cases from the vaccine than occurred naturally.
Vaccines can be looked as a more natural way of dealing with disease, unlike antibiotics, antivirals or antifungals; they are aimed at a specific disease-causing organism and prime your own immune system to deal with that critter. They are not perfect. They can produce side effect such as local swelling, redness and aching. There can be fever and in rare cases allergic reactions and in the case of a “live virus” vaccine, the disease itself.
My own vaccination history for the basic “childhood diseases” was old fashion, I got most of them before there were vaccines, I “whooped” for years because of pertussis. My vocational choices added rabies, the full gamut of military injections via several different routes and finally every hepatitis vaccine to come into existence. I continue to keep current on the recommended vaccination schedule because I work with vulnerable people.
It is the community or herd immunity that protects the most people and could be seen to fall within the mandates of the Baptismal Covenant: “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? And Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” for Community Immunization to work at least 95% of the population needs to be immunized to cover those who cannot be immunized.
So wash your hands and get your flu shot and if you want to talk, please contact me.
Deacon Dennis Taylor, RN