Sometimes I fret that I spend too much time on the fence, but immunisation is a no brainer. The science is sound and it turns out that a little prick can do even more than prevent terrible disease.
New Scientist Magazine reports that a recent study into the side effects of vaccines have had a “wider ranging influence on our immune systems than we ever imagined.”
A study undertaken by Danish Professor Peter Aaby and colleagues in Africa has shown that measles vaccination also reduces death in all other infections by a third by reducing the instance of pneumonia and diarrhoea. The vaccine teaches the body how to combat other infections.
In the west there is evidence to suggest that some vaccines help reduce the effects of eczema and asthma. These unexpected bonuses are known as “non-specific effects”.
Scientists have been noticing these non-specific effects since the early 20th century but no one has taken much notice until Peter Aaby’s work in the West African state of Guinea-Bisseau.
If you are on the fence about immunisation, follow the science. Use Google Scholar and read the meta studies. The Australian government website, Immunise Australia has some useful information as well. Follow the link to New Scientist for more detail.