Mass vaccination in the United States was carried out in the 1940s and 1960s against small pox and measles. There were certain factors that made this mass vaccination a success. One factor was extensive research that was done in the field of vaccines. Edward Jenner discovered small pox vaccines back in the 1790 (Stern and Markel, 2005). In the early stages, the vaccine was produced in small scale and in a more crude form. Therefore, chances of vaccines inefficacy were low (Stern and Markl, 2005). By the time the US was carrying out mass immunization with small pox vaccine, the vaccine had been purified and its efficacy raised many folds. In addition, development of technology made mass production of vaccines possible. As a result, many people could be vaccinated at once, thus creating herd immunity that eventually eliminated small pox virus in the country (Stern and Markel, 2005). The second factor that made this mass vaccination a success was workable immunization policy. The policy was implemented as stipulated. The policy outlined the vaccination formula, timeline and target.
Reasons for Carrying Out Mass Vaccination Today
Mass vaccination should be carried out often to eliminate diseases that pose a threat to public health in the 21st century. The reason why mass vaccinations should be carried again is due to the rise in risks of infectious diseases acquisition. Today, the world is a global village. Fast methods of transport have increased the movement of people from one place to another for business and tourism. Therefore, an infectious agent can be easily transferred from one place of the world to another. Since viral diseases like Ebola and Influenza and deadly and highly contagious, vaccination is a protective method of combating mass spread of such diseases. Zoonotic diseases are on the rise. Human-animal interaction has become common as people move into top and middle classes. New kinds of pets like primates have been caged in homes. Game tourism also increases chances of transmission of zoonotic infections harbored in the wild. It implies, therefore, that vaccination against zoonotic diseases is recommended.
In 2001, America was terrorized through a bio weapon. Anthrax spores were mixed with powder and mailed to USA from Iraq. This prompted for the need to start a mass vaccination campaign against Anthrax and Measles (Fischer, 2002). Terrorism still lurks today. In fact, contemporary terror groups are more sophisticated and are likely to wage war of any kind to the nation. It is therefore imperative to take cautionary measures and immunize the population against common bioterrorism agents. Anthrax and other spore forming bacteria can be used for biological warfare and the government should vaccinate people against such bacteria. The government should therefore invest more in vaccine research and production. Since pathological agents mutate frequently, different kinds of vaccines should be produced to provide protection even when mutant variations are used for bioterrorism. Lastly, mass vaccination contributes to herd immunity. Establishment of herd immunity is a step towards elimination of prevalent infections. In addition, herd immunity prevents relapse of infections in the population. Also, herd immunity eliminates the need to perpetually immunize the population, thus reducing on the public health cost.
Fisher, B. L. (2002). Smallpox and Forced Vaccination: What Every American Needs to Know. National Vaccine Information Center.Stern, A. M., & Markel, H. (2005). The history of vaccines and immunization: familiar patterns, new challenges. Health Affairs, 24(3), 611-621.
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