Andre, FE, Booy, R, Bock, HL, Clemens, J, Datta, SK. et al. (2008). Vaccination greatly reduces disease, disability, death and inequity worldwide. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 86 (2), 140 - 146. World Health Organization. http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.07.040089
What are vaccines?
Vaccines are used to protect people against harmful infectious diseases before they encounter infectious agents. They are safe and effective, based on scientific evidence. They work by using your body’s natural defense mechanism, the immune response, to build resistance to a disease and make your body stronger.
What are the direct health benefits of vaccination?
Vaccines are preventative measures and the cheapest ways to reduce the harmful impact of infections on human’s health. The vaccines do not only protect the vaccinated people, but also protect the unvaccinated population by herd protection, if enough people get vaccinated. This leads to immunity, which can work to eradicate a disease in a population over time. Vaccines annually prevent almost 6 million deaths worldwide and highly reduce the healthcare burden of infectious diseases. An example of its effectiveness is how in the United States, there has been a 99% decrease in the number of cases for nine diseases (one being measles) for which vaccines have been recommended.
What are some societal benefits of vaccination?
Poor health has been shown to limit economic growth and social development. Because vaccines save a high amount of healthcare expenses and improve people’s life quality, they can have great economic benefits. In addition, the effects of many infectious diseases falls disproportionately on the disadvantaged. Vaccines can counter this hindrance to help create equity between high and low socioeconomic groups.
What does this mean for the COVID-19 vaccine?
Just like other infectious diseases, there are now several types of vaccines available to prevent COVID-19. Because of the highly infectious nature, the virus causes numerous new cases and deaths each day worldwide. Due to the tragic outcome of COVID-19 pandemic, it is extremely important to get vaccinated to not only protect yourself but also others. However, you should still practice all routine safety precautions including social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands frequently, even after getting vaccinated.