The Importance Of Vaccination

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In the late 18th century the discovery of the vaccine was made by Edward Jenner, an English doctor who worked with small pox (BBC 2014). As described by the World Health Organization (WHO) a typical vaccine contains “an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins or one of its surface proteins” (WHO 2018). The human body has an incredible immune system that then recognizes the agent injected into the body as foreign and triggers an immune response. From this, the body will remember the agent and can fight the disease if it were to encounter it again (APHA 2018). Over time medical advancements have been made to produce vaccines that have eradicated and reduced the overall presence of disease in the world. Furthermore, vaccination has been described as one of public health’s greatest medical advancements of the 20th century (NYU 2016). Along with the praise vaccinations receive there are still groups of people who choose to not get vaccinated based on moral and ethical values. Mandated vaccination has been at the forefront of an ethical debate ever since Jenner produced the first vaccine. In the United States, the discussion between the greater public good and personal human rights is a balancing act that will continue for many years to come. For many centuries, disease has been a major part of humanity. Vaccination has played a vital role in the reduction of disease, death, and morbidity

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