Vaccination Facts
Vaccination Facts

47 Inoculating Facts about Vaccination

By Nathan James, Associate Writer
Published January 4, 2018
  • Children who are vaccinated according to the recommended schedule will receive around 26 shots within their first two years, providing immunity to 14 different diseases.[3]
  • Because diseases such as hepatitis B can be deadly for infants, most children in America receive their first three vaccination shots within 24 hours after birth.[3]
  • In 2010, America experienced an eruption of whooping cough cases, due in part to parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.[3]
  • Some vaccines, such as the ones for hepatitis B and HPV, significantly lower a person’s chances of developing liver or cervical cancer.[3]
  • One of the main reasons parents choose not to vaccinate their children is a belief that vaccines can cause autism. Although this claim has been proven false, a variety of anti-vaccination organizations continue to insist otherwise.[3]
  • Vaccines are one of the oldest known medical treatments, older than antibiotics or anesthesia.[3]
  • Smallpox, a disease capable of mass outbreaks and a 30% death rate, inspired the first modern vaccination method.[3]
  • Ancient Vaccines
    Vaccination is an ancient practice.
  • Inoculation against deadly disease was first practiced in ancient China and India. Their method involved removing scabs from survivors of smallpox, which healthy people would then inhale in order to trigger a minor case of the disease, resulting in immunity.[3]
  • There are currently vaccines for 22 different diseases.[3]
  • In 1967, smallpox killed over two million people worldwide, sparking a ten-year initiative to use vaccination to eradicate the disease. The last known case of smallpox occurred in Africa in 1977.[3]
  • The East Asian method of inoculation spread to the Middle East several hundred years ago. In the 1770s, Europeans traveling abroad observed this method and introduced it to their own communities.[3]
  • George Washington ordered all potential recruits for the revolutionary army to get smallpox inoculations.[3]
  • After an outbreak of smallpox in colonial Boston, Puritan preacher Cotton Mather urged his fellow citizens to obtain inoculations. Although his efforts helped contain the spread of the disease, one Bostonian, convinced that inoculation was contrary to the will of God, threw a bomb at Mather’s home.[3]
  • The United Kingdom was the first nation to pass laws concerning vaccination. The first act, passed in 1840, provided free smallpox vaccinations for the poor. Thirteen years later, the British government passed a law mandating that all children be vaccinated; non-compliant parents could be fined or jailed.[3]
  • Britain was home to the first organized opposition to vaccination. In 1853, the Anti-Vaccination League was founded; this led to the formation of other leagues, some of which opened offices in other countries, including the United States.[3]
  • Edward Jenner developed the modern form of vaccination in 1796. After observing that milkmaids tended to be immune to smallpox, Jenner successfully used cowpox, a weaker form of the disease, to inoculate children.[3]
  • Vaccines Jenner Cowpox
    A strange quirk of fate led Jenner to the development of modern vaccination techniques.

  • Although Edward Jenner’s use of cowpox as a smallpox vaccination was proven to be effective, it was also very controversial. Early opponents of the method claimed that people who received the vaccination would eventually turn into cows.[3]
  • In some cases, such as with tetanus and meningitis, the vaccine causes your body to create stronger antibodies than if it were exposed to the actual disease.[3]
  • As long as the shots are given at the right time in a person’s life, more than 99% of vaccinated individuals will be immune to mumps, measles, and rubella from the MMR vaccine.[3]
  • In 2001, a group of concerned parents published an article asserting that vaccination could cause autism in children due to the inclusion of thimerosal, a mercury compound, in the vaccine's ingredients. Although thimerosal has never been proven to cause medical problems, its use was discontinued in 2002. The autism rates in vaccinated children remain unchanged.[3]
  • In 2013, 1.7% of parents with children starting kindergarten in the United States received state exemptions allowing them to forego obtaining vaccinations for their children. Mississippi had the lowest exemption rates; Idaho had the highest, with 6.5% of parents refusing to vaccinate their children.[5]
  • There are two forms of vaccines. “Live attenuated” vaccines contain a weaker form of the same disease, while “inactivated” vaccines are made from the dead virus itself. Because the live attenuated form, although more effective, requires cold storage, some places in the world opt to use the dead version.[3]
  • Vaccines Thomas Jefferson
    Many United States founding fathers, including Washington and Jefferson, saw the importance of vaccines.
  • Thomas Jefferson was so impressed by the smallpox vaccination that he learned how to perform the method himself and did so on many occasions.[3]
  • The Food and Drug Administration has strict guidelines that must be kept in order to ensure a vaccine’s purity and safety. Every vaccine undergoes three stages of testing before it is approved for public use.[3]
  • The three stages of vaccine testing required by the FDA begin with human test subjects that are in near-perfect health. The vaccine is then tested on more and more varied demographics to ensure that there are no extreme side effects.[3]
  • Vaccines prevent the spread of a disease as long as a majority percentage of the population have been inoculated. When this percentage has been achieved, it is called “herd immunity” because the immune majority prevent the disease from spreading, protecting the non-vaccinated minority.[3]
  • If 83% of a population has been vaccinated against measles, they will prevent it from spreading such that the remaining 17% of the population will be safe from the contagion.[3]
  • Most vaccines contain less than a few milligrams of infected material. In order to be effective, a vaccine only has to introduce enough of a disease to attack the lymph system for the body to develop immunity.[3]
  • The ingredients of any vaccine can fit into five major categories: the antigens of the disease itself; the adjuvants that boost the effectiveness of the antigens; and the fluids, preservatives, and growers that allow the antigens to be cultivated and delivered in a shot.[3]
  • Vaccines white cell
    The body's ability to remember invasive forces and build antibodies is the key to the success of vaccines.
  • White blood cells in the human immune system have the capacity to remember viruses and bacteria that they have encountered before. Vaccines make use of this property by introducing similar, non-threatening versions of a disease in order to teach your body how to fight the real thing.[3]
  • The diseases that are preventable through vaccination include chicken pox, diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Hib disease, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, polio, rotavirus, smallpox, tetanus, and influenza.[3]
  • Vaccination can cause mild side effects, most commonly fevers, chills, and/or swelling at the site where the shot was administered.[3]
  • Severe side effects to vaccination can include pneumonia and seizures and should be treated with immediate medical attention. Such cases are rare and atypical.[3]
  • A 1998 article published in a British medical journal first asserted the possibility of a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Although the article was eventually retracted, and multiple studies have been unable to substantiate its original claim, continued public statements by one of the authors has caused a decrease in measles vaccinations and an increase in cases of measles across Britain.[3]
  • Andrew Wakefield, the author of an article suggesting a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism, did not suggest that parents stop vaccinating their children altogether, but that they obtain a different form of vaccine. It was later discovered that Wakefield had a patent pending for a different form of MMR vaccine when he made his claims.[3]
  • Adverse reactions to vaccination are more rare than those occurring from use of the most common children's medications.[3]
  • Baby Vaccine medicine
    Over-the-counter cold medicines pose a greater risk to children than vaccinations.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have jointly created a database to collect reports about abnormal reactions to vaccines. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) collects reports made by both healthcare professionals and private individuals, and it is accessible by anyone.[3]
  • In 1942, 330,000 U.S. military servicemen were exposed to Hepatitis B through a vaccination for yellow fever that used the blood of Hepatitis B carriers.[6]
  • In 1955, a California company created a vaccination containing an overly robust strain of the polio virus. Of the 200,000 children given the vaccine, 192 were paralyzed and 10 died.[6]
  • One unvaccinated child caught the measles while on a trip to Europe in 2008. By the time his illness was diagnosed at home in San Diego, eleven other children in the U.S. had caught the disease and 70 others had to be quarantined.[4]
  • Due to widespread vaccination, measles has been successfully eliminated as a transmission threat in North and South America.[4]
  • The flu virus can be deadly for children with certain preexisting medical conditions. A recent study found that the flu vaccination cut the threat of flu-associated death for these children by 51%.[1]
  • Repeated human papillomavirus (HPV) infections can cause a variety of cancers in both men and women. The HPV vaccine series prevents such infections and therefore prevents the resulting cancers.[1]
  • An overwhelming majority of measles cases in the United States are brought into the country by Americans who traveled to other countries without being vaccinated.[2]
  • According to a 2014 study, 85% of Americans who elected not to receive the measles vaccination did so for religious, philosophical, or personal reasons.[2]
  • In 1954, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three scientists who pioneered the use of tissue cultures in the production of vaccines.[6]
  • A lung from an aborted infant provided cells used in 300 million vaccinations.[6]
  • Fascinating Vaccination Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Vaccination Infographic Thumbnail
References

1"CDC Study Finds Flu Vaccine Saves Children’s Lives." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 23, 2017. Accessed: November 30, 2017.

2"Measles Cases in the United States Reach 20-Year High." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May 29, 2014. Accessed: November 30, 2017.

3Mintzer, Stacy Herlihy, and E. Allison Hagood. Your Baby’s Best Shot: Why Vaccines are Safe and Save Lives. United Kingdom: Rowman and Littlefield, 2012.

4"Outbreak of Measles --- San Diego, California, January--February 2008." Center for Disease Control. February 22, 2008. Accessed: November 20, 2017.

5"State Exemption Levels Low, National Vaccination Rates High." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 27, 2015. Accessed: November 30, 2017.

6Wadman, Meredith. The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease. New York: Viking, 2017.

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