Immunizations: They save lives

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Cody Baumgartner

True or false: the benefits of preventing disease with a vaccine far outweigh the risks. The answer: true. Now, we all have heard the controversy whether vaccines are reliable or untrustworthy, but have you scavenged through information to find hard facts to support either claim? Perhaps not. Bottom line is vaccines save lives. It’s true. The primary purpose of a vaccine is to prevent disease without putting the patient at risk for complications. Immunization is considered one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, and experts agree that immunization is key to staying healthy. According to James Gaensbauer MD, “In one year, vaccines prevent more than 8,500 child hospitalizations in Colorado, 33,000 deaths in the U.S., and between 2 and 3 million deaths worldwide.” The drop-in disease rates across America are based solely off of vaccinations; they are not based off not sanitation or improved hygiene. Granted, the diseases have not disappeared from the charts, but because of vaccines, the amount of diseases dropped since last recorded in previous years. 

Many might ask, “How do vaccines benefit the ones around me?” To start, being vaccinated is both a personal and a community choice. Why is it a community choice, as well? If an individual chooses to be vaccinated, they are not only bettering themselves, but also those around them. Simply put, when a person is vaccinated, they prevent disease from being spread to others in the community, including babies, pregnant women, the elderly and unvaccinated children or adults.    

            Are vaccines safe? Vaccines undergo vigorous safety testing to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are continually monitored for safety. In Jan. 2013, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published the most comprehensive examination of the immunization schedule to date, and the report uncovered no evidence of major safety concerns associated with adherence to the CDC-recommended childhood immunization schedule. 

            The benefits outweigh the risks of immunization for children and adults in the United States as well as surrounding countries. Statistics prove that an individual is taking a bigger risk of potentially becoming infected by not being vaccinated compared to undergoing the shot.