This shirt is so soft that your kids will snuggle more often.
It is the early 1950’s, you are 11 years old, and you are walking home from school to grab lunch. Your legs begin to hurt but you make it home. After eating a PBJ you tell your mom that you don’t think you can make it back to school today.
Over the next 2 days, your neck gets stiff, you get a bad fever, and those little pains turned into big pains all over your body.
You’re then rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with polio.
It is incurable, your future appears to be partial paralysis, full paralysis, or death within the next 10 years. More so, if the effects go away with treatments, they can come back any time later in life.
It is a tough diagnosis and there was nothing we can do about it.
Then in the late spring of 1954, there is an announcement in your medical ward that Jonas Salk invented a vaccine to prevent polio.
In the years after you get braces, wheelchairs, full-length body cast, and spinal fusion so that you can return to school as a ninth-grader.
This is the story from one polio survivor, Karen Chase.
In 1952 there were 57,628 Polio cases reported. 3,145 died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis.
A Case For Vaccines
This isn’t something we even think about today. The discussions about polio nearly vanished in the years following the release of the inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) or Salk vaccine.
Why? Because of the wide distribution of the polio vaccine for people worldwide made us all immune.
But this is just one horrible thing that we don’t have to worry about anymore. There are many others including;
Hepatitis B (liver infection), Rotavirus (diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration), diphtheria (breathing and heart failure), tetanus (brain and nervous system infection), pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b (bloodstream infections), pneumococcal (ear, sinus, lung infections), influenza (the flu, lung infections), measles (high fever, cough, eyes, skin rash), mumps (swollen glands), rubella (another measles), varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis a (liver infection), human papillomavirus (HPV, warts that can lead to cancer), meningococcal (brain and spinal cord inflammation).
All of these things are horrible. I don’t want them and I don’t want you to get them either.
How Do Vaccines Work For Me?
“A vaccine works by training the immune system to recognize and combat pathogens, either virus or bacteria.”
Basically, get part of a virus or bacteria into the body to trigger an immune response. The parts that are introduced are antigens and are present on all viruses and bacteria.
This allows your body to be trained up on how to protect itself against a specific pathogen.
Your body goes to work in producing antibodies to combat the variety of antigens it encounters every day. Some viruses and bacteria just work too rapidly (or stealthily) for our immune system to respond effectively before damage is done.
The next time the same virus or bacteria comes around... Boom. Your body is ready to defend itself.
How Do Vaccines Work For Us?
You’ve probably heard of herd immunity and it’s important to the prevention of spreading of diseases.
When most of a community has immunity to a disease then the spread rate is significantly lower.
For example, no one had immunity to the COVID-19 virus prior to its spread, and it spreads very quickly. The virus spreads via air and or touch. It gets into the eyes, nose, or throat and begins to infect the person. Over the course of 7 - 12 days it becomes contagious and is easily transmitted again to new people.
The entire world was affected and cities shut down.
This is what the world is like without just 1 vaccine.
Eventually, one of three things will happen with COVID-19:
- As a planet, we eliminate it by preventing it’s spread, and it dies off in about 30 days.
- Most of the population gets the virus and their body produces the antigens to defend itself against future infections.
- A vaccine is approved, produced, and widely distributed at low cost to everyone on the planet.
The most likely solution ultimately involves the population of the planet becoming immune to the disease (through either exposure or vaccination) and the virus dies because it has no more hosts.
That is herd immunity. There are just multiple ways to get to the same conclusion.