ISTANBUL – Gazi University Faculty of Medicine Public Health Department Lecturer Prof. Dr. F. Nur Baran Aksakal said that with diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and measles vaccination alone, 2-3 million lives are saved each year, and after clean water and sanitation , which is known to protect against all infectious diseases, the application that most prevents disease and death is vaccination.
teacher. Dr. F. Nur Baran Aksakal, in his written statement on the occasion of the immunization week, gave information on the importance of immunization, its impact on public health and the success of the national immunization schedule.
Stressing that vaccines have been effective since the years when they were available and widely used, Aksakal said: “It is only with vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and measles that 2 to 3 million lives are saved every year.After clean water and sanitation, which are known to be protective against all infectious diseases, illness and death are the most common.preventive vaccination.
Because vaccines are so successful and make diseases invisible, very few people have begun to question the necessity of vaccines today. However, 1.5 million people die each year because they cannot reach the vaccine. “These data show us how vital vaccines are to saving more lives.”
Expressing that a world without vaccines would be nothing short of terrible, Aksakal said:
“To explain this with just one example, it has been calculated that one person infects 2-3 people in groups where no one has been vaccinated against the Kovid-19 virus during the pandemic. This number is 12-18 for measles and 12-17 for pertussis in the age group of unvaccinated children. In other words, if a group of children who have not been vaccinated against measles encounter a person with measles, it there will be worse spread and deaths than the Covid-19 pandemic.It is estimated that if smallpox, which we have brought under control and totally eradicated from the world today, existed today, it would kill 5 million people a year. .
Again, in estimates made for the period 1980-2018 after vaccination was stopped, it was calculated that 150-200 million people would have died if the vaccine had not been vaccinated and smallpox spread. was continued. Of course, this is just research on the smallpox vaccine. Assuming there is no vaccine, that would be much harder to calculate. I hope that humanity will not experience such a period again.”
In our country, routine vaccination is carried out against 13 diseases of the childhood vaccination schedule.
Aksakal said that a vaccination program similar to many developed countries in the world is implemented in Turkey and it is a proud situation and said, “There are only a few vaccines in the world that make part of vaccination programs but which are not systematically offered by the State in our program. I can say that these vaccines are in the process of being added to the national immunization schedule. .
Be against bacteria such as tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, hepatitis B, measles, rubella, mumps, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, chickenpox, hepatitis A, pneumonia, meningitis and common blood infections, namely pneumococcus, H. influenza, which we know saves lives by preventing diseases, which can cause sepsis. It is applied in childhood, individually or in a mixed form, against 13 pathogens in our country.
However, tetanus vaccination is given to pregnant women for the adult group and to all adults every 10 years. In addition, the influenza (flu) vaccine is publicly funded with priority given to certain age and at-risk groups.
Noting that optional and fee-based vaccines are also available in our country, Aksakal said, “Even though we have not been able to reach full immunization rate in the past two years due to the effect of the pandemic, we can say that the vaccination rate is quite high and at a protective level. It is necessary to prevent this level from falling and, if there are any, to correct the declines in times of pandemic. It is also a fact that anti-vaccination rhetoric has increased recently and this situation has resulted in an increasing number of babies and children not being vaccinated. used expressions.
We aim for 95% childhood vaccinations
Referring to how vaccines work and how they prevent disease in the community, Aksakal said, “Actually, the idea behind the mechanism of action of vaccines is very simple. It is intended to introduce the pathogen into the body without the risk of disease and allow it to develop a defense against it. For this purpose, substances that are killed, weakened or formed from part of the pathogen. It is given to the body. Thus, the vaccinated person recognizes the agent and fights the agent when he encounters it. Thus, the person is protected against illness or serious illness or death caused by illness. While some vaccines prevent infection, disease and death, some vaccines only protect against severe illness and death. mentioned.
Aksakal, who said the vaccine has the ability to prevent disease in society as well as its personal benefits, said:
“There is a segment of society that we cannot vaccinate or that we cannot provide adequate protection even if we are vaccinated. We can define them as those who are too young for vaccination, the elderly and those whose immune system is weakened. We protect this segment by vaccinating the people around it and reducing their risk of becoming ill. We call this herd immunity. We determine this according to the level of contagiousness of the disease. Thus , for example, if a person with measles infects 12 to 18 people, you would need to vaccinate 95% of this population, while this rate is calculated to be around 70% for Covid-19.
Measles is such a disease that, for example, if your vaccination rate drops, your case count increases rapidly and you start to see deaths because it is deadly. The risk of contracting measles in an unvaccinated population is calculated at 100%. By giving two doses of measles vaccine, we provide up to 99% protection. What we call the level of social immunity are the limit values. In order to prevent disease in society, we aim for 95%, especially in childhood vaccinations, so that none of our babies and children will die from a disease that can be prevented by vaccines. »
Sharing that we lived through the pandemic together and witnessed great hardships, Aksakal said, “Actually, it was a great chance to have effective vaccines during this time. With the vaccines administered during the pandemic period, almost half a million lives have been saved in Europe. When other countries that can reach the vaccine are included, that number is at worst two to three. Of course, the increased need for vaccines in the pandemic environment, fewer deaths in countries that have reached the vaccine, and a faster return to the normal course of life have once again revealed the importance of the vaccine.
This showed the importance of vaccination, especially adult vaccination, although there was a delay due to general pandemic control measures. Of course, when anti-vaccine rhetoric combined with the infodemic created by social media, the vaccine became highly controversial. But I think when the pluses and minuses are collected, awareness against the vaccine increases. Source: AA