The Importance of Vaccines
PELLA, Iowa—With the recent outbreak of measles in the United States this year, and the two confirmed cases in Iowa, Pella Regional is reminding the public that the best way to prevent measles and other contagious, dangerous, and even deadly diseases is to get vaccinated. Vaccines are important because they protect from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, before the mid-1900s, diseases like whooping cough, polio, measles, Haemophilus influenza, and rubella struck hundreds of thousands of infants, children and adults in the U.S. Thousands died every year from these illnesses. As vaccines were developed and became widely used, rates of these diseases declined until today most of them are nearly gone from the U.S.
“Vaccinations are part of a public health commitment to communities to protect each other by vaccinating and staying up to date.” said Jen Weidenaar, RN, BSN, at Pella Regional Health Center. “By vaccinating we are protecting ourselves as well as family, friends, grandparents and others in the community. By not vaccinating we are risking outbreaks of highly contagious illnesses that are almost unknown to us coming back to the U.S. with severe consequences.”
If someone in the community gets an infectious disease, he or she can spread it to others who are not immune. But a person who is immune to a disease because he or she has been vaccinated can’t get that disease and can’t spread it to others. The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer opportunities a disease has to spread.
“For those who are on the fence about vaccinations, I would encourage them to continue to look into their concerns and ask questions,” said Weidenaar. “Studies have shown that vaccines are one of the safest actions for keeping your kids healthy and protected against diseases and illnesses.”
For more information on vaccines, Weidenaar encourages the public to talk with their health care provider. They can also visit the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and the Iowa Department of Public Health.