Immunisations are a hot-button topic across the western world these days, and medical professionals and political pundits alike strive to deliver their opinions on this complex healthcare issue. Everybody's views on the ethics of immunisation are different - but there are some facts that medical professionals agree on almost universally. For starters, vaccinating yourself and your family against disease is a smart choice, and can help to eradicate serious illnesses from the global community. Here's what you need to know.
Your Body Does the Hard Work
Vaccines only work because the human body is incredible in and of itself; it's not a chemical that alters your body chemistry or anything of the sort. They administer a very small, harmless dose of the disease you're immunising against. As there's not enough of the disease to actually harm you, your body is able to fight it off with ease - then essentially teaches itself how to fight the illness. If you're ever exposed again, your body already knows what to do; you are no longer susceptible to that particular disease.
It's Not Harmful
There's a lot of back and forth about this on the internet - specifically, the claim that immunisations can cause autism. In truth, this claim is completely unfounded. The rumour initiated from a 1998 study of only twelve children with autism, and this study was later fully retracted by the scientific journal that published it; the scientist who presided over the study was struck from the UK medical register for his misconduct regarding those results. Unfortunately, the debunked findings have taken root in urban myth - but countless studies that have been undertaken since that erroneous one have proven absolutely no link between vaccines and autism. As such, it is completely safe for you to immunise your child - and to receive those immunisations yourself.
Some Needs Top-Ups
Some immunisations only need to be administered once, and then you're set for life. Others, such as tetanus and hepatitis B, need top-ups - known technically as 'boosters'. Whenever you receive an immunisation, you should be informed about this - but you can check with your doctor to see if you're due for any boosters if you're uncertain. This information should all be stored on your record - but it's nothing to be concerned about. Boosters do not need to be administered often. The most frequent booster you're likely to encounter is for the flu, and these are administered annually.
In short, it's not only safe to have yourself and your family immunised - it's a very wise decision. Speak to your doctor to see if you or your loved ones are missing any, and you can be sure you're well-guarded against disease.