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The safety and effectiveness of vaccines has gained much interest among researchers. The evidence from the research on vaccines is imperative in identifying trends and changing practices and policies in public health. Vaccines are administered regularly, and hence they must be safe. The evidence of safety requires testing a new vaccine immediately. It is designed, and regular monitoring after the vaccine is licensed. Several studies have been carried out and found that vaccines are a safe and effective way of preventing serious diseases.
Hinshaw A, et al (2013) found that receiving on-time vaccines was not only safe but may also significantly reduce vaccine-preventable diseases. The study addresses the safety concerns by parents concerning crowded vaccine schedule for their children due to fear of adverse side effects. The majority of parents are therefore likely to vaccinate their children based on the evidence of safety hence reducing the breakdown of diseases.
Humanitarian crisis in Yemen
According to Weill, Domman and Njamkepo (2018), over a million suspected cholera cases were reported in Yemen between 2016 and 2018 during a period of civil war and humanitarian crisis. Before the outbreak of cholera, almost half of the health facilities were operational, but blockage of seaports prevented the distribution of essential goods and services, including medicine. The humanitarian crisis heightened in 2017, with over 60% of the population facing the risk of famine. Therefore, public health in the country was in jeopardy, forcing the United Nations to activate a high level of resource mobilization. The outbreak of cholera in Yemen could be attributed to water scarcity, which led to water-borne diseases as well as war and insecurity, which restricted the promotion of hygiene. Airstrikes during the war also destroyed infrastructure such as water desalination systems, which reduced access to water in large areas hence accelerating cholera transmission.
Solving the public health issues in Yemen
According to WHO (2017), the treatment of Cholera in Yemen was difficult, especially to people in remote and insecure areas. The protocol for high risks groups such as pregnant women and children with severe malnutrition was inadequate. Lack of cholera preparedness also slowed down the use of Oral Cholera Vaccination. Public health issues in Yemen could have been solved by ensuring that all the areas in the country were accessible. International bodies such as the World Health Organization could, therefore, solicit for security to reach the insecure areas to offer treatment. The use of vaccines, as well as hygiene campaigns, could also help in preventing the spread of cholera. To avert outbreak of cholera in war and conflict-prone countries, there is a need for preparedness in order to administer cholera vaccines to prevent the early spread of the disease.
Hinshaw A, et al. (2013). The childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety Stakeholder concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies. Institute of Medicine., the National Academy of Sciences
Weill F,X., Domman D,. & Njamkepo E (2018) .Genomic insights into the 2016-2017 cholera epidemic in Yemen. Nature 2019;565:230–3
WHO (2017). Yemen cholera response: field visits to Ibb and Hudaydah summary of immediate action points and recommendations Sana. Yemen: WHO
2) Vaccinations are important for disease prevention and are capable of providing immunity to diseases to the individual as well as others through herd immunity (Rosenblatt & Stein, 2015). In 1997, a study published by Andrew Wakefield caused widespread fear concerning vaccines as the study falsely suggested that vaccines increase the risk of autism (Davidson, 2017; Public Health, n.d.). While this study has been discredited due to issues such as research misconduct, conflict of interests, and falsehood, this is still one of the many myths about vaccinations that continues to mislead people. Further studies were conducted and no link was found between autism and vaccines, further discrediting Wakefield’s study.
Avoiding vaccinations puts an individual at risk and also poses a risk to those that rely on herd immunity (Davidson, 2017). Religious objections have also been noted as a commonly used excuse to avoid vaccination and studies have shown that exemptions such as the increasing religious exemptions lead to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) (Pelcic et al., 2016). Most vaccinations are considered to be relatively safe but they can cause adverse effects such as inflammation and irritation at the injection site, cutaneous reactions to the vaccine, and rarely, reactions that are directly related to the virus (Rosenblatt & Stein, 2015).
The World Health Organization (WHO) considers vaccine hesitancy to be one of the top ten threats to global health in 2019 (WHO, 2019). Vaccine hesitancy is defined as the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines. Forty-Seven states and the District of Columbia have reported 2,363 mumps infections to the CDC so far this year (CDC, 2019). The U.S. mumps vaccination program that started in 1967 greatly reduced the annual reported mumps cases from 186,000 to a few hundred a year (CDC, 2019). Since 2006, there has been a notable increase in cases and outbreaks that occur due to issues such as vaccine hesitancy. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the polio vaccine faced some pushback as false rumors about the vaccine were spread online (WHO, 2019). This has caused a lot of distrust but WHO and their partners have put in considerable effort to vaccinate every child and have hopes of being able to help every child (WHO, 2019). Dozens of outbreaks have occurred in the last 9 months and some of these cases could have been easily preventable through the use of vaccines.
CDC (2019). Mumps cases and outbreaks. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks.html
Davidson M. (2017). Vaccination as a cause of autism-myths and controversies. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 19(4), 403–407.
Pelčić, G., Karačić, S., Mikirtichan, G. L., Kubar, O. I., Leavitt, F. J., Cheng-Tek Tai, M., … Tomašević, L. (2016). Religious exceptions for vaccination or religious excuses for avoiding vaccination. Croatian medical journal, 57(5), 516–521. doi:10.3325/cmj.2016.57.516
Public Health (n.d.). Vaccine myths debunked. Retrieved from publichealth.org/public-awareness/understanding-vaccines/vaccine-myths-debunked/
Rosenblatt, A.E. & Stein, S.L. (2015). Cutaneous reactions to vaccinations. Clinics in Dermatology, 33, (3): 327-332.
WHO (2019). Ten threats to global health in 2019. World Health Organization. Retrieved from who.int/emergencies/ten-threats-to-global-health-in-2019
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