Vaccines are considered one of the greatest successes of public health, as they have guarded many people of deadly or crippling diseases throughout the years. They have a very long history, with old methods describing the inoculation of smallpox as early as 1000 CE.
“A vaccine is a biological preparation which is designed to produce an immune response in the body to a particular disease”, as stated by Vaccines Europe. They have a very interesting webpage, where they include all the major information regarding vaccines and their production.
If you want to check a more in depth guide on Europe’s vaccination policies, view or download this official document by the EU.
Classic approaches to immunisation.
These vaccines can include multiple antigens, as well as more than one strains/serotypes of the same virus.
Even though there are proven and effective methods of vaccine production for many diseases, with long production times (12-36 months), sometimes production schedules have to change. One usual example is with the seasonal flu, as otherwise the pathogen would mutate by the time the vaccine is ready for distribution. There are other instances, like the ’emergency procedure’, which allows for fast-track approval of a new vaccine developed after a pandemic has already been declared.
This 17th of June, the European Commission is presenting a European strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing and deployment of vaccines against COVID-19. As Ursula von der Leyen said: “This is a moment for science and solidarity. Nothing is certain, but I am confident that we can mobilise the resources to find a vaccine to beat this virus once and for all.”
Having considered this, vaccines have many detractors. They have been the target of many defamatory campaigns, ranging from allegations of poisonous and dangerous chemicals included in them, to more conspiracy claims: mind control through microchip usage.
Great effort is made to ensure that everyone in the EU can be vaccinated and reduce their morbidity and mortality.
Sadly, more and more people are dying because of diseases that are preventable if immunised. The internet has spread myths and misinformation like wildfire. Having all the information available right at your palm doesn’t grant that the information usually delivered is trustworthy.
Awareness campaigns are produced by official channels for people to understand better the benefits of vaccines and avoid big public health problems.
Heidi J. Larson describes the great dangers of believing false claims around vaccines and other proven technologies in her article: “The biggest pandemic risk? Viral misinformation“.
“I predict that the next major outbreak — whether of a highly fatal strain of influenza or something else — will not be due to a lack of preventive technologies. Instead, emotional contagion, digitally enabled, could erode trust in vaccines so much as to render them moot. The deluge of conflicting information, misinformation and manipulated information on social media should be recognized as a global public-health threat.”
Being a responsible bioleader means taking over responsibility to do public education and fight against misinformation, starting in our personal environment with families and friends and going further with social media, blogs, articles and interviews.
The YEBN strongly encourages you to spread the word about the functioning, benefits and real risks of vaccines as well as the consequences of refusing them. Share your knowledge and become active, in your university, your city, your country and inform the population. Members of YEBN have already proposed events on similar topics like the world AIDS Day. Why not planning some campaigns with impact with your colleagues or friends for the World Immunization Week 2021– celebrated in the last week of April (24 to 30 April). During this week, the aim is to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease to save lives not only in the right against Covid 19.
If you wish to get in contact for help with the preparation and promotion of your world immunisation week campaign proposal 2021, firstname.lastname@example.org