Vaccines & Immunisation - Protect Yourself And The Community

February 4, 2021

Written By: Azmani Fauzi

Get To Know Vaccines 

Vaccines are one of the great achievements in the medical world to be proud of. Once vaccines were introduced, many deadly diseases such as smallpox and polio were almost wiped out. These injections will allow our body to develop antibodies to fight future infections.

Vaccines have been introduced for centuries. The concept of the vaccine in the West was introduced by Edward Jenner in 1796. To date, there are more than 20 diseases that have their respective vaccines. According to the World Health Organization, vaccines have successfully saved 2 to 3 million deaths from diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles, and influenza.

Benefits of Vaccination Creation 

Vaccines are not created for profit in the medical sector. Here are the facts you need to know about the benefits of vaccine:

  • Reduce disability and death from severe infections. Some viral infections like polio can cause permanent disability and are life-threatening especially for children. With immunization, the infections are very rare and the complications are prevented.

  • The vaccine is safe. Many anti-vaccines out there claim that vaccines are unsafe and can cause permanent disability to children. This is a false claim because each vaccine production takes years and will only be approved when it meets certain criteria which means it is guaranteed safe to be used in humans. There may be allergic reactions and other side effects but they are very rare.

  • Believe it or not, vaccines are able to provide comprehensive immunity to the entire local community. It is called herd immunity or group immunity. This type of immunity will occur when the majority of people in the area receive a vaccine to fight disease. This means they have built a protective barrier in their community that allows unfortunate people who cannot receive the vaccine due to illness or certain conditions to be protected. 

Vaccines in Malaysia

  • Tuberculosis 

Bacterial infection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the lungs causes inflammation.

  • Hepatitis B 

This viral infection causes chronic liver inflammation and liver damage. Viruses spread through sexual intercourse, exchanging needles among drug addicts, from mother to child and others.

  • Diphtheria 

A bacterial infection of corynebacterium diphtheria in the throat causes swelling and blocking of the airway.

  • Tetanus 

Bacterial poisoning of clostridium tetani causes severe muscle spasms.

  • Pertussis (whooping cough)

Bacterial infection Bordetella pertussis is highly contagious and causes a persistent cough that makes it difficult to breathe.

  • Haemophilus influenza type B

Infection of the lungs (pneumonia) or inflammation of the lining of the brain (meningitis) caused by bacteria Haemophilus influenzae type B

  • Polio 

Poliovirus causes permanent disability to muscle or paralysis and brain infection.

  • Measles

An acute infection of the Rubeola virus that causes rashes and fever. Infections of the lungs and brain can also occur.

  • Mumps 

A viral infection that causes swelling in the parotid glands at first. Then the infection can spread to other organs such as the testicles and brain.

  • Rubella 

Also known as German measles. This rubella virus infection if left untreated can cause bleeding problems and brain infections.

  • Cervical Cancer

Cancer caused by the Human papillomavirus (HPV) mainly types 16 and 18.

  • Japanese Encephalitis 

A viral infection through mosquito bites causes damage to the brain.

Vaccines Are Not Just For Children 

Conscious or not, most vaccines are given when we are babies or still in primary school according to the National Immunization Schedule. This is because the immune system of infants or children is still weak and dangerous diseases can also easily infect children. With the injection of vaccines, the immunity of children increased while protecting them from exposure to life-threatening diseases or complications. 

However, this does not mean that the vaccine is only for children. There are vaccines for adults in certain cases such as: 

  • Vaccines for the elderly. As age increases, the body's immunity decreases and we become more susceptible to infection. Therefore, some types of vaccines such as tuberculosis and influenza vaccines are given to this group to protect them.

  • Vaccines for seasonal diseases. Some infections such as influenza are usually reported to be more prevalent in winter. We are recommended to take the annual influenza vaccine to prevent this infection. 

  • Vaccines for chronic patients. If you are diagnosed with a life-threatening chronic illness, your doctor will definitely recommend vaccines such as pneumococcal and hepatitis. This is because the immunity of the body of a person with a chronic disease is weak and easily infected.

  • Vaccines before traveling abroad. Some countries have certain endemic diseases such as yellow fever in Africa and South America. Before you travel to this country, make sure you receive the yellow fever vaccine first. If you wish to perform umrah and hajj, the meningococcal vaccine is mandatory for you by the government of Saudi Arabia.

  • Vaccines for pregnant women. The process of pregnancy makes a mother more vulnerable. Therefore, pregnant women are recommended to take rubella, tetanus, and hepatitis B vaccines before pregnancy. This vaccine not only prevents the mother from the disease but also protects the baby.

Side Effects of Vaccines

Surely you have heard rumors that vaccines cause autism. This is completely inaccurate and needs to be corrected. Of course, the vaccine has side effects, but the good and bad of a vaccine have been weighed before the vaccine is approved. 

Each vaccine has its own side effects. Usually, a person may have side effects such as fever, pain at the injection site, weakness, loss of appetite, and headache. These symptoms are only temporary and end after 2-3 days. Allergies to vaccines are very rarely reported. If your child has an allergic reaction to the vaccine, the next injection will not be given and other alternatives should be discussed with your doctor.

Natural Immunity Is Better? 

When a person gets a viral or bacterial infection without vaccination, the body will produce immunity to the disease, and this immunity is referred to as natural immunity. It is true that natural immunity is better than the immunity produced by vaccines, but attention should be paid to the risk of infection. For example, chickenpox can cause bacterial infections in the lungs (pneumonia). Mumps causes deafness, polio causes permanent paralysis, influenza B can cause permanent brain damage and can even lead to death. The risk of side effects of these diseases can be prevented by vaccination. Why put yourself in the above danger situation when the vaccine is safer? 

Various misconceptions about vaccines are beginning to fill the social media space. The bold anti-vaccine action to invite other people to join them and build their own community is alarming. The importance of immunization is clearly stated to prevent us from dangerous diseases, but this fact is twisted by anti-vaccine groups so that some believe that vaccines are the cause of the disease. 

Ultimately, looking at the importance of vaccines, it should be mandatory for everyone to get comprehensive protection from dangerous diseases. Vaccines protect, not kill. 


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