What are the health benefits of vaccinations?
World Immunization Week is observed from April 24-30, 2018 and the WHO is on a mission to highlight the corrective action needed to ensure that every person is protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
The primary benefit of vaccination is to prevent a disease. It works by triggering the immune system to fight against certain diseases. Vaccination is considered as one of the biggest achievements in the 20th century. It is a simple and an effective way to protect against serious diseases.
World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that vaccination prevents approximately 6 million deaths every year. Additionally, all medications that are available currently to treat diseases have side effects but vaccines are the safest with little or no side effects. Vaccinations not only protect the individual person but also the community by not spreading the diseases. Moreover, vaccinations provide protection against deadly infections as well. For example, infective agents such as hepatitis B infect liver leading to liver cancer. Vaccination against hepatitis B prevents the chance of getting liver cancer. Another benefit of vaccination is to extend the life expectancy of the individual by protecting against the disease.
A study showed that when influenza vaccine is given to elderly individuals they had approximately 50% lower risk of mortality and 20% less chance of developing cardiovascular diseases. Thus, the benefits of vaccination extend beyond the prevention of specific diseases to mortality.