In Germany, unlike in many countries of the world, there is no compulsory vaccination. Nevertheless, many diseases are considered eradicated in this country. A success brought about by vaccinations or simply the result of better living conditions?
There is probably no other medical topic that divides the nation as vaccinations do. While some are convinced of the benefits of immunization, others take a stand against it. But what is? The effectiveness of the vaccination has been scientifically confirmed? How often vaccine damage occurs? And does a survived disease lead to a better immunity than through vaccination? In this article we shed light on the topic of vaccination. Vaccinations" from a neutral point of view. We explain the effect of vaccination, the background of vaccination recommendations and many other important questions.
Why vaccinate? Smallpox was in Europe. Asia widespread. In about every 4. child, the disease led to death. Those who survived smallpox were immune for life. In Asia at that time, it was a widespread tradition to wet children who were not ill with the secretion from the pustules of a smallpox patient (variolation). As a result, the children fell ill, but the course of smallpox was comparatively mild. They survived. Were immune.
In Europe, Edward Jenner realized that people who had been infected with cowpox no longer contracted smallpox. He saw the causal connection between the immunities in Europe and Asia. He then undertook a daring experiment: He vaccinated a boy with the pustular secretion of a maid who had contracted cowpox, whereupon the boy also contracted cowpox. About 6 weeks later, the doctor vaccinated the boy with a vaccine made from the smallpox secretion. As expected, the boy remained healthy as a result. Soon a vaccine serum was developed from human lymph. The so-called vaccination spreads at lightning speed. But even then there were opponents of vaccination. While some argued that this would increase the risk of spreading syphilis, others opposed it because they did not want to be inoculated with animal shoots.
Europe experienced a vaccination boom with the development of vaccines against anthrax, rabies, tetanus and diphtheria. Many children from the 19th. and 20. century owe their lives to research.
In the meantime, there are a number of vaccinations against various viruses or bacteria. They are supposed to offer protection against dangerous diseases. Are paid for by health insurance companies. But again and again there is talk about benefit. Risks of vaccinations discussed. Are these still appropriate in a high-tech country with efficient medical care or are doctors subject to prere from pharmaceutical companies. Recommend therefore even for infants from the 6. Different vaccinations during the first week of life? Various vaccinations during the first week of life?
Vaccinations – What happens?
The immune system
Whether through the respiratory tract, the skin, the stomach or the mucous membranes – we take in billions of germs every day. Different types of immune cells fight these foreign organisms so they don't make us sick.
A general immune response occurs as a first response to any type of foreign creature. Granulocytes, monocytes, macrophages and killer cells simply try to eat up bacteria, viruses, fungi or tumor cells. If this does not succeed, higher components of the immune system are called upon, the specific defenses. Lymphocytes in particular play an important role in this process. These immune cells can adapt and remember. As a result, they are not only able to produce targeted antibodies to eliminate germs, but also memory cells. As a result, if the same pathogen infects again, an immune response can occur before the disease breaks out.
Active vaccination occurs when people specifically want to protect themselves from disease. In this type of vaccination, pathogens are deliberately applied to the human organism. This should make the immune system antibodies. Forming memory cells. By actively confronting the pathogen, the body can arm itself for a real infection and, if necessary, provide the matching immune cells. This dispute is with
Side effects connected. However, the so-called vaccination reaction with fever, fatigue and aching limbs is merely an expression of an active immune system and Disappears after a few days again.
The production of specific antibodies and memory cells after active vaccination takes between 1 and 2 weeks. Immunity is usually maintained for at least 5 years, sometimes even for life.
Active vaccination is recommended against rubella, measles, mumps, chickenpox, influenza or HPV. The administered pathogens are precisely dosed. Attenuated or killed. The outcome is not dependent on how active the germs are, but on how many protein molecules must be presented to the immune system for an active challenge to occur. In both cases there is immunization. Currently, research is being conducted primarily on an active vaccine against the HI and coronaviruses.
In contrast, the human organism is injected with ready-made antibodies during passive vaccination. The own immune system remains passive. No longer needs to form antibodies.
The antibodies used in passive vaccination come from humans or animals that have already been infected with the pathogen and have consequently developed specific antibodies.
Passive vaccination is not administered prophylactically, but when people are suspected of being infected with a pathogen and there is no time for active vaccination, for example in the case of tetanus or rabies. Then the injected antibodies can act immediately and eliminate the pathogen. However, the passive vaccine lasts only a short time, because the body does not form memory cells after the injection.
Passive vaccination is also given in the womb, when the fetus receives antibodies from the mother. This means that the newborn has sufficient protection against many diseases in the first weeks of life, after which its own immune system must develop.
Vaccinations – What speaks for it?
No vaccination offers one hundred percent protection against the disease in question. Active immunization, however, reduces the probability of occurrence enormously. The protective effect and the vaccination effect are continuously recorded and documented by the government in randomized controlled trials. Only when the risk-benefit factor is clearly positive does the Standing Commission on Vaccination make a vaccination recommendation for a particular infectious disease and note it in a vaccination calendar.
But vaccinations have not only been proven to protect against diseases. Even if there is an outbreak of the disease despite vaccination (5%), the infection is much milder and usually without complications. Every single vaccinated person, who is sufficiently immunized, is also protected from severe concomitant diseases.
This is particularly evident, for example, in the significantly lower number of cases of
– encephalitis after measles disease – orchitis and associated infertility after mumps infection – physical disability after polio infection
Infectious diseases can also be fatalb. Some people benefit from vaccination primarily because they belong to a certain risk group and therefore have significantly higher mortality from individual infectious diseases. Many deaths could be prevented by vaccination. In 2002 alone, more than 2 million people worldwide died from infectious diseases for which vaccination would be available. It is estimated that even today, 3 children die every minute from preventable infections.
However, not only the individual, but also the population benefits from a general vaccination campaign. The mathematical epidemiology of the Robert Koch Institute regularly examines the course of infectious diseases in connection with vaccination programs. If there is a high vaccination rate within a population group, there is also a so-called herd immunity. This means that even non-vaccinated people are protected against a certain disease, since the high proportion of immunized people means that the pathogen no longer circulates within this population group. This herd protection primarily reduces mortality in unvaccinated people at high risk, such as infants, chronically ill or immunocompromised people.
According to scientific findings, vaccinations are not only one of the 10 most important medical achievements. They are also the most important and effective measure to control infectious diseases. Since the introduction of vaccination programs, several diseases, including smallpox, diphtheria and polio, are considered nearly Eradicated.
Vaccination opponents and arguments against vaccination – What's the truth??
For many years, a so-called vaccination fatigue has been observed in Germany. Neglect or deliberate refusal of recommended vaccinations causes some diseases to reappear in greater numbers. As a result, vaccination coverage falls below the critical threshold. There is no longer herd immunity. But what arguments do vaccination opponents have?
Questionable effectiveness: It usually takes several years for a vaccine to be released. According to the German Medicines Act, a vaccine only receives approval if it is effective and tolerable. The effectiveness is also studied continuously within the population groups.
Limited protection: People do have temporary vaccination protection, which is why booster vaccinations are advised in most cases. In contrast, however, even an infection that has been passed does not provide 100% protection against recurrence.
Better immune response after infection: Whether the pathogen enters the organism in a weakened or active state and challenges the immune system is irrelevant to the formation of antibodies and memory cells. However, the risk of fatality from infection with active germs is significantly higher than after vaccination.
Stress on the immune system: Multiple vaccines in infancy do not overload the immune system of infants because the vaccine sera are improved. Whereas 20 years ago there were thousands of pathogens in one vaccine dose, today it is possible to immunize with only single protein components.
Toxins in vaccines: Vaccines contain toxic substances such as formaldehyde, mercury, aluminum or phenol. These substances are used to kill the pathogens, boost the immune response or preserve the vaccine. However, the concentrations of the substances are far below the toxic range. If you swallow water while swimming in the lake, you probably have more toxins in you.
Money makes the world go round: From the pharmaceutical industry's point of view, the distribution of vaccines, in contrast to medications for the chronically ill, is not very profitable because it is a "one-time product".
Fear of vaccine damage and co.: The probability of suffering a vaccine injury in Germany is 0.1%, whereas the probability of suffering a complication from the infection is 5 to 10%, depending on the disease.
Vaccinations are one of the most important medical achievements. The focus is not only on protecting individuals from infectious diseases, but also on protecting others who cannot be vaccinated and are particularly at risk. Therefore, follow the vaccination recommendations of the RKI and protect yourself and others.
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