Lifesaving vaccines have drastically increased longevity for United States citizens. Today, populations live almost twice as long as they did a century ago. Lifespan is a rough indicator of a population’s overall health. This is possible because of the successful elimination of many earlier lethal illnesses. In the United States (U.S.), vaccinations have provided immunization from many health threats. However, new threatening illnesses have emerged. US health organizations collaborate with international entities to help undeveloped nations improve population health, but face challenges managing and eliminating illnesses at home and abroad.
In early America, disease represented the worst cause of death among many possibilities, and as time went on, shrinking global boundaries increased disease mobility. The average lifespan used to be around 35 years. Over the last 200 years, U.S. life expectancy has more than doubled to almost 80 years (78.8 in 2015), with vast improvements in health and quality of life. Today, modern society takes for granted the protection provided against formally lethal illnesses. Vaccinations have eliminated conditions normally resulting in certain death and increased health conditions among children and adults.
Physicians have successfully eliminated smallpox in the United States. In the early 1900’s, nearly 50,000 people contracted smallpox, resulting in over 1,500 deaths. Since then, the disease has declined on an intermittent curve BV. Today, physicians no longer vaccinate against the disease. This was in part due to the United States supporting other nations in eliminating the illness.
Vaccines have been so effective at improving health and saving and extending lives that most people in the U.S. have no idea what it’s like to watch a child die a painful death from a tetanus infection or to witness a loved one experience brutal paralysis and death from polio. Providing and supporting vaccinations is a key tool in today’s public health toolbox.
Which brings us to the COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA). They are safe and effective!
The COVID-19 vaccines produce protection against the disease, as a result of developing an immune response to the SARS-Cov-2 virus. Developing immunity through vaccination means there is a reduced risk of developing the illness and its consequences. This immunity helps you fight the virus if exposed. Getting vaccinated may also protect people around you, because if you are protected from getting infected and from disease, you are less likely to infect someone else. This is particularly important to protect people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as healthcare providers, older or elderly adults, and people with other medical conditions.
If you’ve been waiting to get the COVID-19 vaccine until you saw how it affected your friends and family, now’s the time to sign up for your vaccinations! Over 930 million doses have been administered across 158 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg. The latest rate was roughly 15.7 million doses a day. In the U.S., 216 million doses have been given so far. In the last week, an average of 3.02 million doses per day were administered.
Globally, more than 930 million doses have been administered. The numbers seem high, but in fact only 6.1% of the global population has been inoculated.
Why should we care about global rates of vaccination? Because, until this virus is eradicated from the world, we will all continue to be at risk of contracting COVID-19 and all the mutating strains related to it. The world has become so accessible, that it’s incredibly easy for the virus to travel from one continent to another in just a matter of hours.
If you are still hesitant to get the vaccine, please talk to your doctor or your Case Manager. They are available to answer all your questions, especially if you have questions about how the vaccine may affect you and your health specifically.
The most common side effects include sore injection sites, and a slight feeling of flu like symptoms. This vaccine is safe! The reports of severe adverse effects are so low that in the the millions of doses given, they don’t even reach the 1% mark. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that only those who experienced an allergic reaction to a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or to one of its components – including polyethylene glycol (PEG), and a related molecule called polysorbate – should not be vaccinated. The Moderna vaccine also contains PEG, while the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine contains Polysorbate 80, a related emulsifier found in many vaccines including the influenza vaccine. There are no reports of PEG allergic patients reacting to the AstraZeneca vaccine. None of the COVID-19 vaccines approved so far contain egg proteins or latex, so people with allergies to these substances can be vaccinated.
The only way to eradicate this virus is by adopting a community mindset and working together. After all, isn’t good health something we all want for ourselves and each other?