Why Are Vaccines So Important? | ExpatWoman.com

Why Are Vaccines So Important?

Mediclinic City Hospital, Dubai explain why vaccines are so important.

Posted on

4 May 2014

Last updated on 30 January 2018
Why Are Vaccines So Important?
The first child ever to be vaccinated was James Phipps in 1796 when Dr. Edward Jenner injected him with cowpox, giving him immunity against the much more serious condition of Smallpox.  Little did James know that he signalled the beginning of a medical revolution which would save the lives of millions of people each year.

Vaccines prevent debilitating illness, disability and death from diseases such as diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, pneumococcal disease, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, tetanus and yellow fever.  Although they are so widely associated children, the benefits of vaccination extend further to adolescents and adults, providing protection against illnesses such as meningitis and influenza and serious diseases such as cervical cancer.

Ironically, the fact that vaccination has made many infectious diseases rare or almost unheard of can lead to the opinion among parents and health professionals that vaccination is no longer necessary. Due to gaps in vaccination coverage, diseases like diphtheria, measles and polio are making a comeback.  It’s only safe to stop vaccination when a disease has disappeared altogether.  Smallpox was declared to have been completely eradicated in 1979 and vaccinations ceased.  If parents continue to vaccinate their children, it is hoped that polio and measles may follow.

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There will always be children who cannot receive vaccinations, either because they don’t have access to them, there are medical reasons why not or they’re too young, but if the majority of children are vaccinated this helps to prevent disease outbreaks in the community.

Living in the UAE, you are exposed to a global melting pot of cultures, languages…and diseases.  Be responsible - make sure you and your family are adequately vaccinated.

Zainab A. Malik MD, MS, FAAP American Board Certified Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

Maida Balila MD, MBBS, FRCP (Canada), American Board Certified Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases.