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Vaccines are modern medicine’s best way of combating the majority of viral and bacterial illnesses and contagions to date. Thanks to the introduction of vaccines since the first uses of them in 1796 (Jenner’s smallpox vaccine), they have drastically reduced

Vaccines are modern medicine’s best way of combating the majority of viral and bacterial illnesses and contagions to date. Thanks to the introduction of vaccines since the first uses of them in 1796 (Jenner’s smallpox vaccine), they have drastically reduced figures of disease worldwide, turning once lethal and life changing conditions into minor annoyances; Some of these afflictions have even become nonexistent or even extinct in certain parts of the world outside of a controlled laboratory setting. With many advancements and overwhelming evidence proving their efficiency, it is clear that vaccines have become nothing less than a necessity for everyday healthcare in today’s world. <br/>The greatest contributor to the creation and evolution of vaccines throughout the years is by far the progress and work done in the field of molecular and cellular biology. These advancements have become the bedrock of modern vaccination, as shown by the differing types of vaccines and their methodology. The most common varieties of vaccines are include ‘dead’ or inactivated vaccines, one such example being the pertussis strain of vaccines, which have either dead or torn apart cells for the body to easily fight off, allowing the immune system to easily and quickly counter the illness; Additionally, there are also live attenuated vaccines (LAVs) in which a weaker version of the pathogen is introduced to the body to stimulate an immune response, or a recombinant mRNA vaccine where mRNA containing the coding for an antigen is presented for immunological response, the latter being what the current COVID-19 vaccines are based on. This is in part aided by the presence of immunological adjuvants, antigens and substances that the immune system can recognize, target, and remember for future infections. However, for more serious illnesses the body needs a bigger threat to analyze, which leads to live vaccines- instead of dead or individual components of a potential pathogen, a weakened version is created in the lab to allow the body to combat it. The idea behind this is the same, but to a larger degree so a more serious illness such as measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) do not infect us.<br/>However, for the past couple of decades the public’s views on vaccination has greatly varied, with the rise of fear and disinformation leading those to believe that modern medicine is a threat in disguise. The largest of these arguments began in the late 90’s, when Dr. Andrew Wakefield published an article under the Lancet with false information connecting vaccinations to the occurrence of autism in younger children- a theory which has since then been proven incorrect numerous times over. Unfortunately, the rise of hysteria and paranoia in people, along with more misinformation from misleading sources, have strengthened the anti-vaccination cause and has made it into a serious threat to the health of those world-wide.<br/>The aim of this thesis is to provide an accurate and thorough analysis on these three themes- the history of vaccines, their inner workings and machinations in providing immune defenses for the body, and the current controversy of the anti-vaccination movement. Additionally, there will be two other sections going in-depth on two specific areas where vaccination is highly important; The spread and fear of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been around for nearly four decades, so it begs the question: what makes this such a difficult virus, and how can a vaccine be created to combat it? Additionally, in the last year the world has encountered a new virus that has evolved into a global pandemic, SARS-COV 2. This new strain of coronavirus has shown itself to be highly contagious and rapidly mutating, and the race to quickly develop a vaccine to counteract it has been on-going since its first major infections in Wuhan, China. Overall, this thesis will go in-depth in providing the most accurate, up-to-date, and critical information regarding vaccinations today.

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Title
  • Vaccine Essentials: How They Came To Be, Why They Are Necessary, and Why Vaccine Hesitancy Exists
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Date Created
2021-05
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