The Guilfordian

Filed under Features, In Print

Students speak on benefits of vaccine

Since their creation in 1796 by Edward Jenner, there have been significant scientific advancements that have enabled vaccines to be mass produced and available to the public. However, the basic idea remains the same. Vaccines are an arm-to-arm inoculation to prevent the spread of disease. There are many ways that vaccines help protect many people from harsh diseases and illnesses.

To understand why vaccines are an important step in preventing the spread of illness, one must understand the procedure vaccines undergo before they are released to the public. Vaccines are given to millions of healthy people, including children, to prevent them from catching serious diseases. These vaccines are held to very high safety standards that are outlined and monitored by the FDA.

Before vaccines are distributed, they are tested in labs to determine whether the drug can be used on humans. Then the vaccines are tested on human volunteers in clinical trials after there has been significant progress and promising results in lab testing. Clinical testing can take several years. Clinical testing helps to ensure that a vaccine is safe. It also allows for the proper dosage amount to be set and shows how humans’ immune systems will react to it.

After there have been consistent and reputable results throughout this testing, the FDA once again makes sure the drug is potent, pure and sterile before a vaccine is recommended to the public.

The first vaccine was created in 1796 and aimed to prevent the spread of and protect against smallpox. The vaccination method involved taking material from a blister of someone infected with cowpox and inoculating it into another person’s skin.

This method could have been dangerous and was most likely unsterile. Today, we use sterile methods to inject vaccines, which allows for the safe mass production of vaccines.

“Prevention cuts down on the possibility of people getting the illness,”said senior Finn Shepard.

Vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to fight infections faster and more aggressively. The immune system would normally release antibodies to fight incoming viruses.

Specifically, the fighting T-lymphocytes, originating from the thymus, will attack the germs head-on and ensure that the germs are gone for good. The next time the same strain of virus enters the body, the memory cells will recognize the virus quicker and send the correct antibodies to attack the virus.

“Vaccines help with mass illness prevention and preventing the spread of diseases such as the flu,” said senior Samantha Brooks.

Vaccines make this process even faster by sparking the immune response, helping the body fight off and remember the germ so it can attack it if the germ ever invades again. Since vaccines are made of very small amounts of weak or dead germs, they will not make you sick.

In addition to keeping yourself safe from potentially dangerous diseases such as measles, whooping cough, polio, tetanus and the flu, vaccines also reduce the spread of illnesses to the individuals around you.

“We should focus on not having (the spread of the illness) at all,” said junior Shayne Kenny.

In addition to possible medical consequences resulting from not being vaccinated, there are also several other factors that make vaccines more beneficial, such as the financial costs of getting sick and time that must be spent recuperating rather than being at one’s full productivity potential. Finally, vaccines are highly recommended if one has certain chronic health conditions or when flying to countries in the developing world.

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