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August Is NIAM: The Future Of Vaccines

Image of Jessica Shaw
Jessica Shaw

Since the beginning of March, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a rippling effect on the entirety of the healthcare industry, resulting in reduced accessibility and affordability of services to certain communities around the world. With no short supply of unprecedented changes, we have all learned to overcome the challenges of fear, panic and confusion in addition to learning how to be resilient during a time of crisis. 

As August is National Immunization Awareness Month, now more than ever, the importance of public health has emphasized the significance of vaccines as well as shown just how much vaccinations are essential in making sure everyone is proactively safe and healthy. Here at Raintree, our mission is “making healthcare efficient, accessible and affordable for everyone”, which are values that tie closely to the awareness and advocacy for vaccines. That is why we wanted to share with you a variety of helpful resources and guides that are aimed to educate, inspire and motivate you to learn more about vaccinations as well as encourage others.  

Common Definitions, Questions, Facts and History About Vaccines

Do you know the difference between a vaccination and immunization or what natural “herd” immunity is? Educate yourself with these basic terms and definitions, so that you can effectively protect yourself and others. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/imz-basics.htm

Check out these commonly asked questions regarding whether vaccines are safe, why they are important and who they benefit. https://vaccineinformation.org/faqs-common-questions/

Before antibiotics were first introduced in the early 1900’s, vaccines were the oldest known form of medicine. Read these 10 interesting facts about vaccines to learn more. https://medicopy.net/who-we-are/blog/10-interesting-facts-about-vaccines

This timeline showcases over 1000 years of history, starting with early Chinese inoculation and tracking the different epidemics that have occurred all around the world including smallpox, yellow fever, polio, tuberculosis and even rabies.  https://www.historyofvaccines.org/timeline/all

 

The Vaccination Controversy

From as early as the 1800’s, anti-vaccination leagues have opposed vaccines due to religious, political and personal reasons including fear of safety as well as scientific confusion. https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/history-anti-vaccination-movements

While the CDC explains the importance of vaccines they also demonstrate the social and economic impact if vaccinations were to cease. They also explain how the surge of the anti-vaccine movement in the 1970’s heavily influenced the number of pertussis and whooping cough cases in Japan. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/whatifstop.htm

For those who remain unsure and want to delve deeper into the efficacy, safety and necessity of vaccines, this interview with Professor Elizabeth Miller (consultant epidemiologist for Public Health England), How To Better Understand The Controversy, discusses the challenges of vaccination advocacy. https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-015-0508-z

With something so controversial comes news and media that confuses conspiracies with the truth. Read this article from Healio News and Frank Destefano (author for CDC’s Immunization Safety Office) that goes over some of the most common myths and facts about vaccinations. https://www.healio.com/news/infectious-disease/20190222/qa-vaccine-controversies-in-the-us

All matters aside, whether you are pro or against vaccines, it is important for everyone to know both the risks and benefits of vaccinations. Click here for more information. https://www.wgu.edu/blog/risks-benefits-vaccination1906.html

If you are a parent and have questions about vaccinating your children, take a look at these frequently asked questions pertaining to early age vaccines in terms of natural immunity, side effects and why vaccination schedules are important to stick to. 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/vaccines/art-20048334

Upcoming Vaccine Innovations 

With the current pandemic, scientists, health professionals and government officials have all been scrambling to find a cure for the novel CoronaVirus. Read this article to better understand the science of immunizations and to learn more about new vaccine technologies. 

https://www.science.org.au/learning/general-audience/science-booklets/science-immunisation/6-what-does-future-hold-vaccination

Over 260 vaccines are currently being developed, which means new advances like peptide vaccines, non-replicating viral vectors and recombinant DNA platforms are closer to making vaccinations easier, efficient and more cost effective. 

https://www.abpi.org.uk/new-medicines/vaccines/the-future-of-vaccines/

From iris scans that help proactively monitor people who require vaccinations to simple application patches with microneedles, these technologies are making it easier for vaccines to be developed and distributed to poorer communities in rural areas. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-04-future-vaccines-world.html

COVID-19’s Impact and Influence on Vaccinations

With people concerned about contracting the CoronaVirus they are avoiding primary healthcare services and putting themselves at risk. Here is CDC’s guide to safely continue receiving vaccinations during the pandemic as well as the general practices for safe delivery and alternative considerations for vaccination sites. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pandemic-guidance/index.html

Be sure to read this research article from Scientific American that showcases the United States’ decline of children visits and early age vaccinations as well as discusses the grim impact of steadily decreasing immunization records. 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/vaccinations-have-sharply-declined-nationwide-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

CDC’s vaccine safety website offers a variety of public resources and research aimed to educate, raise awareness and encourage everyone to be vaccinated.

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/index.html

If and when we develop a cure for COVID or the pandemic is indeed over, vaccinations will still remain an important priority for public health to pursue and advocate for in order to effectively ensure the safety of communities worldwide. https://www.jhsph.edu/ivac/2020/04/28/vaccination-services-must-continue-even-as-we-fight-covid-19/


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