In the United States, children and adults receive vaccinations for a variety of preventable diseases. We pooches receive vaccinations as well. By the way, do you know what Heartworm is? The name disturbs me. Many vaccines are recommended because they not only protect the child who is vaccinated, but also create what is commonly known as “herd immunity,” which provides protection for the broader community.
This is particularly helpful for people with weakened immune systems. While some parents worry about some of the substances found in vaccines, many such fears can be alleviated by researching information provided by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).
The basic ideas behind vaccines was first developed by Hippocrates in 400 B.C. When I was a younger pup, I thought his name was about crates given to hippos. He identified several diseases and suggested that cures could be developed. In 1798, Edward Jenner proposed a cure for smallpox might be found by inoculating healthy individuals. Known as the father of immunology, Jenner’s work later came to be called variolation, wherein healthy individuals were exposed to a disease in order to build immunity. Other medical professionals, such as Louis Pasteur and Jonas Salk, capitalized on Jenner’s seed work. These pioneers eradicated some of the world’s most dangerous and contagious diseases.
Ground-breaking vaccinations currently available to children and adults throughout the world:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Herpes Zoster (shingles)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Influenza (the flu)
- Invasive Haemophilus Influenzae Disease
- Invasive Meningococcal Disease
- Invasive Pneumococcal Disease
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Poliomyelitis (polio)
- Rabies (This is one I have heard of in my circles.)
- Rubella (German Measles)
- Tick-Borne Encephalitis
- Tuberculosis (BCG Vaccine)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Yellow Fever
Preventive immunization is crucial, as some of the aforementioned diseases still result in death. For example, in 2015, a case of the measles killed the first person in the U.S. in 12 years, which many scientists blame on falling vaccination rates. Rabies kills nearly 50,000 people annually, due to incomplete vaccination efforts and the frequent interactions between people and rabies-carrying animals. That’s scary stuff!
Especially alarming due to its high mortality rate, Smallpox is said to have killed 300-500 million people in the 20th century. The disease is one of two to have been officially declared “eradicated.” This represents a global achievement and underscores the need for aggressive vaccine research to help combat new worldwide threats.
Polio is another disease eliminated from the U.S. due to successful vaccine programs. The disease used to cripple tens of thousands of people a year. It still remains a global threat, but is much reduced due to widespread vaccinations developed famously in the 1950s by Jonas Salk.
Vaccines on the Horizon
Developing new vaccines is tricky and requires considerable funding and forward-thinking science.
Here are some of the more pressing diseases and associated efforts to create vaccines:
- Scientists are working quickly to develop a Zika vaccine to prevent the spread of the virus beyond primarily South America and Mexico. Since the 2016 Summer Olympics are underway in Rio, where the virus has gained traction, and with additional confirmed cases in Florida, Zika is on the minds of travelers and health organizations, alike both in the U.S. and abroad. In fact, the National Institute of Health (NIH) is already performing human vaccine trials, a promising development. On a lighter note, I qualified for the 100-meter dog paddle race, but I’m sitting this one out.
- New emphasis is turned towards an HIV vaccine, with recent human trials released and specific research tied to the way that certain people’s bodies react to the virus.
- In late 2015, the first-ever vaccine for dengue fever launched in several countries.
- Researchers are still developing a malaria vaccine, and pushing forward despite recent setbacks which illustrate a short-lived duration for a recent vaccine effort.
Remember that safety is a daily priority. Following proper vaccination schedules can save lives and prevent the fast and furious spread of infectious diseases. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Allied Universal, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.