Uploaded by sanjmo on May 03, 2005
Since the first vaccine in 1796 for smallpox, made by Edward Jenner, modern science has managed to create vaccines to give us immunity to many deadly diseases. Vaccines have reduced many diseases and have even eradicated others. However, currently there is evidence that not all vaccines are beneficial and that some may actually be harmful. In this essay, I will discuss about what a vaccine is and how they work. I will also discuss the pros and cons of vaccinations, and show some of the advantages and disadvantages of a vaccine as well as the moral and ethical implications on our community.
The word vaccine came from the word “vaca” which means cow in Latin. A vaccine is a means of producing immunity against pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria, by the introduction of weakened, killed, or altered antigens. In other words, it prepares the bodies defences against a particular pathogen before it strikes. There are a multiple amount of steps that the human body goes through in order to fight off the disease. First the vaccine is given by a shot or sometimes even in a liquid form by ingesting it. The antigens in the vaccine stimulate the body to produce antibodies, which neutralizes the antigen by binding specifically to it. These antibodies can fight the real disease germs, which can be roaming all around if they invade a human’s body. The antibodies will know how to destroy them and you will not become ill. This is called de-immunization. After exposure to a live, weakened, or dead germ, the antibodies or memory cells fight infectious diseases and usually stay in a person's immune system for a lifetime.
There are many types of vaccines that have been generated throughout history. From Edward Jenner, who came up with a vaccination for small pox in 1796, to Louise Pasteur who developed vaccines for rabies and anthrax in 1885, all the way to present date with the research on a HIV/AIDS vaccine.
One of the most successful vaccines that have ever been conjured up is the vaccine for Poliomyelitis, commonly known as the poliovirus or polio. Polio is a highly contagious, and sometimes fatal viral infection that can produce permanent muscle weakness, paralysis, and other symptoms. The polio vaccine is included among the routine childhood immunization. The vaccine can be taken orally (Sabin vaccine) or by an inactivated injection (Salk vaccine). In the early...