Vaccines that have saved humanity throughout history
People around the world have been anxiously awaiting the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although contagions are still many, the return to almost normal life is already possible, thanks to the various vaccines created to fight the coronavirus. In fact, throughout history, we have been free from several diseases due to the high rate of immunization through this type of medicine. See in the gallery!
"With the exception of clean water, no other factor, not even antibiotics, has had such an important effect in reducing mortality." This is how the World Health Organization opens this report on immunization through vaccines.
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Vaccines prevent more than 2.5 million child deaths each year. Pneumonia and diarrhea are the main causes of infant mortality. Fortunately, pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines are increasingly enabling a change in this scenario.
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More than 100 million children are vaccinated each year, according to the WHO, and this opportunity to grow up healthy is indisputable for everyone's future. However, the goal is still to reach 24 million children who live in poor or conflict-affected countries where access to vaccines is still precarious.
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The fact that immunization does not reach at least 95% of humanity, including people who were not vaccinated in the past, causes outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, which reappear even in countries where vaccination coverage is high.
In the first half of 2022, 79% more measle cases were reported worldwide compared to the same period in 2021 according to WHO. However, the organization estimates that this number is much higher, as less than 1 in 10 cases are reported.
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In addition to measles, there are more than 26 vaccine-preventable diseases, many of them lethal and disabling, such as diphtheria, hepatitis, meningitis and polio.
Weakness in the health system, lack of infrastructure and funding, in addition to the lack of knowledge about the importance of vaccines are the main factors that hold back the advance of global immunization.
According to the WHO, the reluctance to vaccinate, which has gained strength in recent years, is a serious threat to global health. Neither quality sanitation enough to prevent the diseases that vaccines prevent, nor is immunization from naturally contracting the disease safe.
A fraudulent article, written in 1988, and later withdrawn by the magazine that published it, linked, without evidence, the MMR vaccine with autism. Not only the WHO but the entire reputable medical community in the world condemned the accusation. Currently, internet giants such as Facebook and Google are scrambling to eliminate any false information about vaccines.
Vaccines produce an immune response in the body without the risk of causing disease and its serious complications. Still in the laboratory, its components are subjected to tests to determine aspects such as purity and potency.
After the component analysis phase in the laboratory, a clinical trial of safety and efficacy in human beings is carried out.
Once authorized, batches of vaccines are submitted to post-marketing tests to verify the uniformity of the production process and monitor any possible adverse effects.
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In addition to regulatory systems in each country, WHO also provides vaccine prequalification initiatives.
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Efficient vaccination coverage represents an important investment for nations. However, it allows you to save a much greater value in treatments.
One example of cost-effectiveness is the worldwide eradication of smallpox. The US $100 million that were spent on vaccines over 10 years, until 1977, saved US $1.3 billion in treatment and prevention.
The polio vaccine, developed in the 1950s by Dr. Jonas Salk (pictured), when the disease was common in several countries, is another example of effectiveness.
Supported by a worldwide WHO campaign, immunization against polio has reduced its appearance by 99%.
Since 1923, when the first vaccine to prevent Diphtheria was manufactured, much progress has been made in the industry dedicated to the field. The WHO is betting that the world is moving towards developing vaccines against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, as well as others adapted to specific needs.