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What are Vaccines?
Vaccines are used to help the body develop
resistance to specific diseases. The human immune system is designed to
fight against disease and infection by producing antibodies. The body
"remembers" some diseases and is able to prevent subsequent
re-infection. For example, a person typically only has chicken pox one
time during his life. Once a child has had chicken pox, he or she may be
exposed to another person who has chicken pox with little or no risk of
contracting the disease again. This is the body's way of providing
resistance to a disease.
Vaccines work in much the same way, helping the body create a defense
system against specific infections. When children or adults are
vaccinated, they are given a substance that causes their body to create
antibodies. These antibodies provide an immunity that will protect them
in the event that they are exposed to a disease. Vaccines often consist
of a very light dose of what causes the disease the patient is being
There is no question that vaccines and immunizations have saved lives.
Before the polio vaccination was available, 13,000 to 20,000 cases were
reported each year in the United States. Now, polio is virtually extinct
in the U.S. Mumps was once a major cause of deafness in children. Mumps
can also cause swelling of the brain, nerves, and spinal cord that can
lead to paralysis, seizures, and fluid in the brain. Before the
vaccination was developed in 1967, an estimated 212,000 cases of mumps
occurred in the U.S. each year. In 1986 and 1987, there was a resurgence
of mumps with 12,848 cases reported. Efforts to immunize children
against the disease were increased. The Centers for Disease Control
report that since 1989, the incidence has declined, with a total of 323
cases reported in 2002.
What is the vaccines
Vaccines, like all medications, can have side effects. In some cases,
the side effects are only temporary or are extremely rare. Other
vaccines have a greater risk of more serious, long-term side effects.
The FDA's Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS) receives
about 11,000 reports of serious adverse reactions to vaccination
annually, some one percent (112+) of which are deaths from vaccine
reactions. However, the FDA itself estimates that only about 10 percent
of adverse reactions are reported. One example of the under-reporting of
adverse reactions was reported by the National Vaccine Information
Center, which found that in New York, only one out of 40 doctor's
offices - about 2.5 percent of the physicians surveyed - confirmed that
they report a death or injury following vaccination, which means that
97.5 percent of vaccine related deaths and disabilities go unreported
there. These findings suggest that vaccine deaths actually occurring
each year may be well over 1,000.
Research is still being conducted to
determine exactly how many children and adults might have been affected
by adverse reactions to the Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine (MMR), the
DTP/DTaP/Td vaccine, Hepatitis B vaccine, or vaccines for Lyme disease,
polio, or varicella (the chicken pox vaccine). The specter of terrorism
raises more concerns about immunizations that may be required for
anthrax and small pox.
The fact is that no one knows the actual amount of risk involved when a
vaccine is administered. Most children will show no reaction at all. But
for the children and adults who are adversely and seriously affected,
the risk is 100 percent.
Do I have a Vaccines case?