This August our friends accross the pond are marking Immunisation Month, all things considered we thought it’s something we should celebrate too!
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinating people of all ages against a number of serious and sometimes deadly diseases. It might surprise you how long ago vaccination in some form was first being used!...
1,000 AD - Early Chinese Inoculation: The method involved grinding up smallpox scabs and blowing the matter into nostril! Lovely!
1700’s - Benjamin Jesty: English cattle farmer, inoculated his wife and two sons from a cowpox lesion. Having already contracted cowpox himself, he believed he was protected from smallpox. When a serious smallpox epidemic hit his Dorset village, his wife and children survived, and the boys, showed no symptoms.
Dr. Edward Jenner: inoculated a child with matter from a cowpox sore who felt poorly for several days but made a full recovery. In July 1796, Jenner then infected the same child with human smallpox. The child remained healthy.
1853 - Mandatory Vaccination in UK: The United Kingdom Vaccination Act of 1853 made smallpox vaccination mandatory in the first three months of an infant's life. A parent's penalty for not complying was a fine or imprisonment.
1882 - Anti-Vaccination: The Anti-Vaccination League of America held its first meeting in New York. They promoted the idea that smallpox was spread by filth not a virus - both an incorrect and dangerous argument.
1893 - Low Vaccination Rates Lead to Outbreak: A smallpox outbreak in Indiana, USA, illustrated the effect of low vaccination rates. A local doctor noted that vaccination there had been largely neglected since the last epidemic of smallpox in 1876.
1980s - Smallpox Declared Eradicated: The World Health Assembly declared the world free from smallpox.
What is ‘herd immunity?’
Contrary to the term’s recent misuse, ‘herd immunity’ is not achieved by encouraging a population to contract a disease. ‘Herd immunity’ is achieved by vaccination. Depending on the disease a population is only considered to have ‘herd immunity’ when 70-90% of a population are immunised. As a result, the whole community becomes protected—not just those who are vaccinated. This helps to protect vulnerable people with health conditions who might not be able to be vaccinated.
• Vaccines protect against
• These diseases still exist and
outbreaks do occur.
• Vaccines are recommended
and are already used throughout our lives.
• Vaccines are very safe.
There are many debates around the safety of many of the vaccinations available, however governments across the world, acting upon the advice of leading scientists and medical professionals overwhelmingly support immunization schemes. Despite this, the growing voice of the anti immunization supporters (and some other factors) has lead to a decrease in the number of people becoming vaccinated and there is little surprise that the number of people affected by diseases that in some cases had been eliminated from some countries is on the rise again.
What is a virus’ best friend? - People
Viruses do not travel - people do. They cannot travel large distances by themselves, they rely on the movement of people to spread them widely.
Continuing to wear a mask, even when vaccinated, will continue to stop the spread of Covid-19.