Infectious Diseases and Vaccinations

Did you know that sneezes can spread diseases?

This is what we call an infectious disease, when your cold or cough can be passed onto the people around you.

We all get coughs and colds but some more serious infectious diseases can kill and that’s why vaccines are so important to give your body some instructions on how to fight these diseases.

Vaccines are a way of giving people immunity to diseases. 1 in 10 of all deaths in this country are from infectious diseases. The fact that it isn’t more than that is largely due to vaccines.

When you’re a kid, your parents are encouraged to get quite a few of these for you to protect you against horrible illnesses like Measles, Whooping Cough, German Measles and Rubella.

But are they OK and should they be forced to or should it be up to us to decide?

Some people are wary of vaccines. They don’t mind taking medicine when poorly, but if it’s just in case then they’d rather not – “What if I have a horrible reaction?”

Of course, this is very unlikely. Reactions might be a lot less horrible than catching the disease!

Plus, the only reason diseases like Polio and Smallpox have been virtually obliterated is that enough people have been vaccinated so the germs have nowhere left to go. It’s called population immunity – or sometimes, herd immunity.

Vaccinations are considered so important that some countries fine or even imprison people for skipping their children’s vaccinations. However, lots of people believe it’s their own body so it’s up to them to decide.

In this country routine vaccinations aren’t compulsory. The government prefers to encourage people to see the benefits in vaccinations and make it easy for people to get them at the right times.

Click here for more bioethical dilemmas!


Nuffield CouncilBene and Mal’s Bioethics series with support from Nuffield Council on Bioethics
Click here to find out more!

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