There has always been a healthy skepticism with regard to things that the general public does not understand. The efficacy and necessity of immunizations is a large issue for skeptics. Many people wonder why we bother and doubt very heavily whether or not the vaccines do the job that they are intended to do.
We have a great many vaccines available and most you would have heard of (i.e., influenza, Tdap, measles/mumps/rubella) It’s true that we do not live in a perfect world and that vaccinations are not necessarily perfect for everyone. Even if you get the influenza vaccine every year, for instance, there is no guarantee that every person who gets the vaccination is protected. There is always that marginal chance that the strain has changed since last season. It is also important to remember that there are several strains of influenza and so the vaccine may work very well against some and not as well against others.
There has been a great deal of uproar about requirements for some health care workers and university students to get their vaccinations before they go to work or school. Many stories have depicted nurses losing their jobs as a result of refusal and so forth. Many of us can understand and sympathize with people who do not want to undergo the process of vaccination and are nervous about their children being vaccinated. A lot of this nervousness, in my experience, stems from the lacking answer to a simple question: Why do I/they really them? It’s a valid question because, as previously stated, they aren’t perfect.
Well, in our world there is very little space from one person to the next and we touch many different people and surfaces and animals and who knows what else throughout the day which means we are in a perfect position to spread viruses and bacteria like wildfire. It is because of the world we live in that we have problems controlling Tuberculosis, STD’s, and other forms of infectious disease that we cannot vaccinate against. Our access to immunizations helps us maintain a level of “herd immunity”. What this means is that it becomes harder for that pathogen to spread. So, for example, even if the vaccine for influenza doesn’t work for every person it will work for a large enough number of people to help keep it at bay and protect those people at higher risk from infection. This is why it is so important for healthcare workers and parents of young children to maintain their vaccines because they are regularly in contact with people in high risk groups who, if infected, could die.