With COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, and the vaccines starting to be administered (albeit slowly), it’s important to take a look at these vaccines, and vaccines in general. While there is a pretty consistent debate going on around vaccines, the truth is that we’ve come a long way from blowing ground-up smallpox scabs up each other’s noses. Still, many people continue asking themselves, “Should I get vaccinated?” Well, here are a few pros and cons to help you make up your mind.
Top 3 Pros and Cons of Vaccines
Pros of Vaccines
Vaccines Literally Save Lives
Ok, the first and most important pro when it comes to vaccines is that they literally save lives. While it may be impossible to ever know exactly how many lives vaccines have saved, it’s pretty obvious to see that they have. Many dangerous diseases have been greatly reduced in the world because of vaccines. In fact, one of the most famous and deadly diseases in history was completely wiped off the face of the earth because of a vaccine.
Smallpox killed about 30% of all people who caught it. Until the vaccine was developed in 1977, there wasn’t a treatment for this plague. Because of the vaccine, smallpox has become the first, and only, human disease to ever be completely eradicated. Vaccinations have also greatly reduced the number of cases of polio, measles, diphtheria, and many other diseases across the world. Once enough people in an area get vaccinated against a disease, then the community develops a herd immunity. This helps prevent the further spread, leading to the elimination of the disease.
Vaccines Save You Money
One of the pros of vaccinations that many people don’t realize is the fact that they save you money. Think about it like this: the average flu infection lasts up to 15 days and can result in you missing 5 or 6 days of work. Factor in doctor visits and the cost of medication and the costs start to really add up. That doesn’t even take into account the possibility of not having health insurance, which could be devastating if hospitalization is required.
The bottom line is that vaccines not only save money for the individual, but they save money for the community as a whole. Since 1994, vaccinations for children have saved the United States over $1.5 trillion dollars in societal costs. These societal costs take into account the money saved by preventing early deaths and disabilities.
They Pretty Much Always Work
One of the greatest things about vaccines, especially the ones that are around today, is that they are incredibly effective. Many vaccines, like the polio and measles vaccines, are up to 99% effective, or more. This kind of protection against diseases was completely unheard of until very recently.
Not only do vaccines work on an individual level, but they also work on a large scale too. The more people who receive vaccines and build up an immunity leads to a healthier community overall. This herd immunity helps prevent the most at-risk people in the community from getting sick. Ultimately, it comes down to that: protecting the community, especially the ones who need it the most.
Cons of Vaccines
Potential for an Allergic Reaction
The debate on vaccines has legitimacy and it’s important to understand any and all cons of vaccines. The first thing you might worry about when getting a vaccine is whether or not you could have an allergic reaction or any adverse reaction. While this is a risk, it’s not a very likely risk.
One way to mitigate the fear of having an allergic reaction to a vaccine is to think about it logically. Take a step back and remember where these vaccines are administered and who is administering them. Allergic reactions to vaccines typically happen very quickly. This is actually good news because there’s no better place to have an allergic reaction than at a clinic, physician’s office, or hospital. If there is any risk of adverse reactions, the medical professionals administering the vaccines are more than prepared. If you’re still worried, then hang around the medical facility for 15 -25 minutes after receiving your vaccine.
The Ingredients Sound Scary
Alright, look, you’re absolutely right, the ingredients in vaccines sound terrifying. Things like egg protein, thimerosal, polysorbate 80, formaldehyde, and even MSG somehow make their way into the vaccines that we take.
While it’s true that things like thimerosal and formaldehyde are dangerous in large quantities, the fact of the matter is that these vaccines don’t have anywhere near enough to harm you. “So, why are they even in there?”, good question. Every ingredient in a vaccine serves an essential purpose. Whether they serve as preservatives to keep the vaccine effective or as stabilizers to keep the vaccine potent, these ingredients work together to keep you safe. The trials and safety hoops these vaccines must first jump through before getting to us assures us that the vaccines are safe.
Ok, fair. While some people do better than others, nobody actually likes needles. They’re like spiders or snakes, making you flinch any time you see one. It’s not just the needle though, sometimes the vaccine itself can be irritating or painful.
I’m sorry, there’s no real way around this one. Getting poked with a needle hurts. There is good news though. After receiving your vaccine, they’ll give you a band-aid and maybe even a sucker if you’re lucky. You can also avoid some of the soreness afterwards by keeping that arm active. Hopefully, the next vaccine will be nasal application.
The Bottom Line: Get Your Vaccine
The bottom line is get your vaccine. Not only will it help keep you and your community healthy, it’ll also save you and our country money. It’s one of those easy selfless things you can do to make the world a better and healthier place. Yeah, it might hurt, but you’ll get a nice band-aid and, probably, candy.
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