Nowadays there is a lot of talk about vaccines, but only for one ailment. We are forgetting that we’ve taken vaccines for a variety of different diseases, sicknesses, and disorders. While the COVID-19 vaccines use mRNA replication to create immunity, other vaccines are more traditional. It’s vital not to forget the vaccines for other illnesses. The focus has been on the COVID-19 pandemic, but we should be focusing on health overall. It all begins with the basics of taking care of yourself, but it’s necessary to get your other preventative vaccinations. With the pandemic improving health management and awareness, continuing to utilize vaccinations is vital. Below are five vaccinations to keep in mind.
The most widespread vaccine is for the flu. The common flu kills many people every year and can cause a lot of miserable sickness. There are specific vaccines for the high-dose flu and for children. Influenza is a respiratory illness like COVID-19, but it is much more controlled. Influenza can impact people differently based on their age, immune system, and overall health. Babies are the most likely to be hospitalized with the flu and yet they can’t be vaccinated against it. The rest of us typically take a flu vaccine every year on our doctor’s recommendation.
Polio has almost been fully eradicated due to its vaccine. Years ago, polio was killing scores of people. It is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the poliovirus. Not only can it infect the brain and spinal cord, but it can also cause paralysis. While countries like the United States have successfully eliminated polio, it remains a threat to other, less fortunate countries. The polio vaccine remains incredibly important to keep the disease under control.
Tetanus & Diphtheria
Causing painful stiffness in the muscles as well as lockjaw, tetanus can be fatal. The TDaP vaccine fights not just tetanus but the diseases diphtheria and pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough. While tetanus is typically associated with bacteria from a dirty cut, there are other ways to contract the disease. The vaccine effort against it continues to be quite important. The TDaP vaccine is administered to children at various stages to provide immunity to it. Tetanus and whooping cough have faded from the public conversation due to their effectiveness in preventing cases. A TDaP vaccine from CVS is available.
About 780,000 people from Hepatitis B around the world every year. It is contracted through the blood and most commonly transmitted from a mother to a child. Since 90 percent of the babies who get Hepatitis B from their mothers are chronically infected. This is why infants are vaccinated against it shortly after they are born. Pregnant women should be tested for Hepatitis B. On the other hand, Hepatitis A is transmitted through contact with a person or through contaminated food and water. Luckily the vaccine, which was developed in the 1990s, has largely decreased the number of cases. Similar to Hepatitis B, babies are vaccinated against Hepatitis A soon after their birth.
Highly contagious and serious for young children, measles is very common in much of the world. While in the United States it is much less of a problem, unvaccinated people who travel abroad can bring it back to the country. Since it is so contagious and problematic, anyone who isn’t vaccinated against it is at risk. This is yet again another reason why infants are vaccinated against it early on.
COVID-19 is not the only deadly infectious disease out there. With so many infections that are harmful to us, we have developed vaccines to mitigate transmissions. The vaccines for COVID-19 are different in the way that they are designed to decrease symptoms, not prevent transmission. While they have shown promise in limiting transmissions, compared to other vaccinations they aren’t as effective in this regard. Society is beginning to realize that we live in a world with many infectious diseases.
There are many reasons why we use vaccinations. When we take the focus off the COVID-19 vaccines and zoom out to see the whole picture, it becomes clear that we need to focus on health and medicine more overall. It’s amazing that we’ve made so much progress with vaccinations, it should inspire confidence that we will continue to do so.