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The Importance Of Vaccination

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Public health is a topic garnering more attention with each passing year. Epidemic’s like the Zika virus outbreak in 2015-2016 have propelled the vaccine controversy into the spotlight. Proponents have argued that vaccinations are not only safe but one of the greatest medical advances of the twentieth century. They accredit vaccines with not only saving millions of lives through prevention but also the elimination of many diseases in regions across the world. However, opponents believe the exact opposite. Many believe that the immune system in children is capable of fighting off infections naturally, without injections. They believe vaccinations cause harmful and irreversible side effects. However, undeniably, vaccination is a medical marvel and is critical to the control and eradication of deadly infectious diseases. Despite popular belief, immunization is not a new method of intervention in combating diseases. Similar practices date as far back as 1000AD, where the Chinese used an inoculation method to combat smallpox (Artenstein 5299). Formal vaccine history dates back to the 18th century, “…systematic investigations into the protective effect of cowpox against smallpox in the waning years of the 18th century” (Artenstein 5299). 80 years later, Louis Pasteur, a French biologist made a crucial discovery in the process of microbial attenuation which would have profound implications on immunizations. Not long after this discovery, Pasteur illustrated the protection his
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