The Importance of Vaccination: The Benefits and Reasons to Vaccinate

Vaccines are the most effective and safe means of protection against certain diseases. Those who are vaccinated have greater resilience in the event that the disease arises.

The Importance of Vaccination: The Benefits and Reasons to Vaccinate

The vaccination  is the act of not inoculate the active life states of pathogens (disease carriers) for the creation of antibodies against diseases.

Vaccines act on the immune system to stimulate the production of antibodies against a particular infectious agent, preventing the person vaccinated from having this disease when it comes in contact with that microorganism.

A vaccine is an antigen preparation (particles foreign to the body) which administered to a subject elicits a specific protective immune response from one or more infectious agents.

RISK-BENEFIT ASSESSMENT

When most of the population is vaccinated, there is an interruption in the transmission of the disease, which benefits the whole population avoiding the risk of being infected and, essentially for the immunized person, because it drastically reduces the risk of developing the disease in question.

As a rule, it is not enough to vaccinate once to be properly protected.

As a general rule, it is necessary to receive several doses (booster) of the same vaccine in order to be effective.

Although safe, vaccines can cause some adverse reactions, most of which are temporary and of lesser severity. The most frequent are swelling, pain and redness at the injection site, fever and general malaise.

NATIONAL PLAN OF VACCINATION

Vaccines that are part of the National Vaccination Program (PNV) are free.

The PNV is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health and integrates the vaccines considered more important to defend the health of the Portuguese population.

Vaccines that are part of the PNV can be changed from one year to the next, depending on the adaptation of the program to the needs of the population, including the integration of new vaccines.

To get a vaccination, just go to the health center in your area and take the Vaccine Bulletin with you. If for any reason (extended vacation, for example) you can not go to your health center, go to the one closest to where you are.

The PNV underwent changes at the beginning of the current year, 2017, with the recommended scheme presented below. In addition, another change is that by the end of this year, the vaccine bulletin will become digital.

WHY VACINATE?

The two main reasons for vaccination are to protect us and protect those around us . Successful vaccination programs depend on the cooperation of each individual to ensure the well-being of all.

If we do not maintain optimal rates of group immunization, diseases prevented by vaccination will return.

If people are not vaccinated, diseases that have become rare, such as whooping cough, polio and measles, will reappear.

Although vaccination-preventable diseases have become rare in many countries, the infectious agents that cause them continue to circulate in some parts of the world. In a highly interconnected world, they can cross geographic borders and infect anyone who is not protected.

In Western Europe, for example, measles outbreaks have occurred in unvaccinated populations in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Directorate-General for Health, argues that a high vaccination coverage allows immunization of those who are vaccinated, but also prevent the spread of diseases, since group immunity prevents the circulation of pathogens.

Globally, 1 in 5 children still does not receive routine immunizations and about 1.5 million children die each year from disease that could be prevented by existing vaccines.

VACINATE? YES OR NO?

We should not be fundamentalists, be blindly in favor of vaccination, or absolutely against. It’s a question of being properly informed and choosing a pediatrician who has confidence that you can help with these important decisions.

There are also several vaccines that do not belong to the PNV (influenza vaccine, for example), but which can be acquired and prevent other common diseases.

Thus, once again, it is a decision of each of us to resort to the available vaccines, whether or not they belong to PNV.