Vaccination and Antivaxxers.

As a Zoologist I used to teach this. I’ll keep it simple.

A vaccination is a process of stimulating your immune system so that it fights off a specific disease.

Your body has antibodies that are specific to the antigens (proteins) on a virus. If you have not encountered that virus before you will not have any antibodies to fight it. A small percentage of people, through mutation, will have a natural immunity.

When you become infected with a virus your body starts to defend itself. It learns to produce antibodies to destroy the virus. It alerts T-cells to recognise the virus antigen protein and attack it. This takes time. While your body is learning to do this you are ill. If your immune response is too slow you may suffer damage to organs or even death.

Some viruses are deadly, others less so. Some viruses will permanently damage the brain, heart, kidneys or organs. They can leave you paralysed, blind, deaf, with a weak heart or damaged brain. Some may leave you infertile or cause cancer.

No viruses are good. Childhood viruses like Measles kill children, cause deafness or blindness. Mumps causes infertility. Scarlet Fever damages the heart.

In the past we were ravaged by virus outbreaks – smallpox killed millions, polio paralysed and crippled millions. But we developed vaccines and now they are eradicated and controlled. The death-rate in children has come right down. We no longer see the same level of damaged bodies.

We introduced vaccination programmes to protect our children and ourselves against polio, tuberculosis, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox and have completely eradicated the terror of smallpox due to vaccination.

We no longer have people ravaged and crippled by polio, blind and deaf from measles, or getting cervical cancer.

There are a number of types of vaccination.

Live strain – injecting a harmless strain of a virus that produces antibodies that attack a lethal virus.

Dead Strain – injecting lethal viruses that have been killed by irradiating or chemicals.

Component – injecting a part of the lethal virus – usually its protein sheath.

Conjugate – injecting a combination.

Some Facts

You cannot boost your immune system to fight a particular virus. If you do not have the antibodies or T-cell response to a particular antigen you will become ill with it. You can boost your immune system to work effectively and produce an immune response quicker – but that might not be quick enough.

Vaccines cause a reaction. That is what they are designed to do. They stimulate your body into producing the antibody response. This can make you feel a little sore or even make you ill for a few days – but nowhere near as ill as if you caught the disease. Most vaccinations have no visible reaction.

A tiny percentage of people have a more severe reaction. Compared with the risk from the disease this is insignificant.

Antivaxxers

Plenty of scare stories and conspiracy theories have circulated regarding vaccinations.

Andrew Wakefield in 1998 was funded by lawyers bringing lawsuits against vaccine companies. He published a paper in the lancet that received widespread publicity claiming there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. This led to a big drop in vaccination. The findings were later completely refuted. There is no link. Unfortunately the damage had been done. There is no link at all to autism.

Certain religious groups refuse to have their children vaccinated on the grounds that it is contrary to god’s will – as if god is happy having children die or being severely crippled or damaged.

There are a number of completely stupid conspiracy theories that suggest that some tracking device is being injected by the Lizards who run the ‘Deep State’ so they can keep tabs on your movements. These ideas are idiotic.

Some people have a disbelief in science.

Some people believe that they have strong immune systems, never go down with diseases and would fight it off. They are wrong. Diseases and immunity is very specific. If you haven’t got the antibodies you will get ill.

Some people believe that vaccination is all some means of the massive pharmaceutical companies making big money. They do. It is wrong. Which is why I think that governments should be responsible – not private companies. But that is no reason not to be vaccinated. Vaccination works. People shouldn’t make money out of it – but, ironically, many of the antivaxxers are the most outspoken when defending privatisation and oppose Obamacare. They are quite happy to let these companies make big profits out of sick people.

Covid-19

The new vaccines against Covid-19 operate by injecting some mRNA into the body. This produces the protein sheath of the virus (which is completely harmless). The body’s immune system recognises the protein and creates T-cell responses and antibodies against it. If the real virus invades it is mopped up straight away.

The safety checks are to ensure that it does not trigger an allergic response.

Covid-19 kills, it causes permanent damage to organs (lungs, heart,brain and kidneys). While it mainly kills the elderly it can still greatly affect those a lot younger. Long Covid and the Suzuki syndrome severely affecting children are major risks.

The damage to peoples’ jobs and the economy is enormous.

It is a lottery. While most people seem to get it mildly some react very seriously, requiring hospitalisation and even ventilation. This puts enormous strain on our health services. Many health workers have died.

The only way out of this is a vaccination programme that will create herd immunity so that the virus no longer spreads or, like smallpox, can be eradicated altogether.

If too many people start believing the conspiracy theories or false stories about vaccination and do not get vaccinated then there are going to be a lot more deaths, a lot more severely damaged people and we are going to be in lockdown forever.

As for me – I’ve been vaccinated against anything and everything – BCG, MMR, Flu, yellow fever, typhoid……… the list goes on. My kids were all vaccinated. I knew it was my responsibility to keep them safe.

Vaccination works. Science is good. It is not by chance that these infectious diseases have been greatly reduced. It isn’t a product of better hygiene or healthy eating – it’s the vaccination programmes.

As soon as the vaccine becomes available I shall be first in line. I want to be safe. I shall urge my children and grandchildren to get vaccinated. I want them to be safe too.

If you have any questions or want to discuss this further then please leave a comment. I’m open to debate.

2 thoughts on “Vaccination and Antivaxxers.

  1. Not all vaccines are alike – If you get an MMR, then you will be immune for the rest of your life. If you get the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, you will be immune for 10 years and either have to revaccinate or catch the virus as an adult (which is proven to be much worse.) If you get the influenza vaccine, you will be immune for 1 year because the virus mutates (in part because of the vaccine targeting known strands and hurrying along natural selection.)

    It’s also a little concerning that antibiotics are present in viral vaccines. We know that antibiotics have no effect on the virus, but scientists are still studying whether it undermines our body’s ability to fight viruses.

    I’m not saying a COVID vaccine would be bad – I think it would be good to get back to normal and if a vaccine does it, I’m for its development.

    But will we get a 1-year vaccine, 10-year vaccine, or be lucky enough to have a lifetime vaccine?

    1. You are certainly right about the length of time the antibodies last. Some vaccines do require regular top-ups. It looks like Covid-19 will be one of those. But being vaccinated every year will be a small price to pay for getting back to normality – eh?
      Mutations could prove another obstacle. It depends if the mutation affects the protein sheath or not.

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