Important vaccine facts
With Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out around the globe at warp speed, vaccines are now facing even greater scrutiny than ever before – and a lot of mistrust. Instead of listening to unqualified opinion online, find out what doctors wish you knew about them.
Good hygiene can’t replace vaccines
Increased medical care, better nutrition, and cleaner and less crowded living conditions have certainly had an impact on the spread and treatment of infectious diseases over the years. But the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that vaccines have played an even more important role in the drastic reduction of disease. If there’s no vaccine for a disease (as has been the case with Covid-19), then all we have is hygiene, says Dr Kathryn M. Edwards, a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). And for some highly contagious diseases like measles, hygiene may not be enough. While Covid-19 may infect three to four people, measles can infect 15 to 20. That said, you still need to focus on hygiene.
You still need the vaccine even if you haven’t heard of the disease
As an example of this, the WHO points to Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), a type of bacteria that can cause brain and blood infections, including meningitis. Due to the vaccine, the disease is now mostly a footnote. Numerous other viruses that most of us are thankfully unaware of could come back with potentially deadly results if we stopped vaccinating, the agency says. (By the way, Hib is not related to the influenza virus.)