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Vaccines - Progress Protecting the World’s Health

Ever since they were invented, vaccines have helped reduce diseases and lower mortality rates in human beings, improving the quality of life of all population groups.

The scientific community is unanimous in stating that vaccines help save lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that, in addition to making drinking water safe, they are one of the prevention measures that have provided the most benefits to humanity. All governments encourage people to get them as guaranteed health protection.

Thanks to immunizations, diseases that had previously been epidemics and caused very high mortality rates are now eradicated throughout the world such as smallpox; almost eradicated such as polio, measles; or controlled, as is the case of hepatitis B, tetanus and diphtheria, among others.

These are just a few facts that highlight the importance of these medications. Moreover, they not only protect the person who receives the vaccine but also all of society as they help keep minor diseases under control or have even ended them in many countries.

How they work

Vaccines are biological products comprised of microorganisms which are dead (inactive), mitigated or partially included that are administered to prevent infectious diseases in people who may get them.

“Getting a vaccine is voluntary but not doing so is irresponsible as it can put an entire community at risk”

They recreate the disease without producing the infection to stimulate the immune system to develop defences to respond whenever there is contact with the microorganism responsible for producing the infection and the disease.

Health authorities create immunization calendars to meet the population’s needs. These calendars are sequences of vaccine administration designed to immunize a person against the diseases that could most likely affect them within a specific period of time. Thus, they reveal the time in life when receiving each one is recommended. These calendars include vaccines that are subsidized and others which are not, but they are all equally important.

Getting a vaccine is voluntary but, given the benefits, not doing so is rather irresponsible and can put an entire community at serious risk.

Are there any risks with vaccines?

No medical advance has ever saved as many lives as vaccines. They are very safe and are pharmaceutical products meaning they are subject to the highest standards of safety. All vaccines administered today have clearly proven their efficacy and safety.

However, as occurs with any other medication, vaccines are not exempt of possible side effects even though the possibility is very low. The benefit in all cases is much higher than the risk; hence, vaccines included on immunization calendars are there because of recommendations from international health authorities.