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The world is now racing to find a vaccine for COVID-19. However, what are vaccines and how do they help in preventing disease? This guide provides a range of interesting resources about vaccinations.

 

In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner inoculated a young boy, James Phipps, with cowpox (a mild and recoverable disease). He later found that young James had become completely immune to smallpox, an infectious and often deadly disease. Jenner termed this new procedure “vaccination”, derived from the Latin word vaccinia, meaning cowpox. Thus began the path towards the global eradication of smallpox, and a whole new branch of medicine.

 

As a field, vaccination has been well studied and the process of conception to testing and production is rigorously evaluated to ensure minimal risk to any patient being inoculated. Vaccines are constantly monitored for their safety. For many vaccines, the risk of an adverse allergic reaction is about one per million doses. These odds are much less than getting struck by lightning or being involved in a plane crash. There are many benefits to vaccinations. Vaccines eliminate suffering from preventable diseases. Enough vaccinated individuals results in herd immunity, which prevents the spread of such illnesses by halting possible transmission routes, protecting those who are unable to be vaccinated, such as the elderly or immuno-compromised.

 

While there are many vaccines available in Singapore, certain vaccinations, such as ones against diphtheria and measles, are mandated by law. Immunisation for children, against diseases such as tuberculosis, began as early as the mid-1950s. The National Childhood Immunisation Schedule advises parents on the timeline for vaccinations for children from birth up to 11 years old. Several vaccines are also recommended for adults during different stages of their lives.

 

To find out more about vaccinations, check out the resources below. Our next instalment will look at public health in Singapore.

 

 

Books/ Ebooks/ Audiobooks

1. Between hope and fear: A history of vaccines and human immunity

Kinch, M. (2018). Between hope and fear: A history of vaccines and human immunity. New York: Pegasus Books. Retrieved from OverDrive.(myLibrary ID is required to access this ebook.)

 

2. The speckled monster: A historical tale of battling smallpox

Carrell, J. L. (2004). The speckled monster: A historical tale of battling smallpox. New York, NY: Plume. Retrieved from OverDrive. (myLibrary ID is required to access this ebook.)

 

3. The vaccine race: Science, politics, and the human costs of defeating disease

Wadman, M. (2017). The vaccine race: Science, politics, and the human costs of defeating disease. New York, NY: Penguin Books. Retrieved from OverDrive. (myLibrary ID is required to access this ebook.)

 

4. An elegant defense: The extraordinary new science of the immune system: A tale in four lives

Richtel, M. (2019). An elegant defense: The extraordinary new science of the immune system: A tale in four lives. New York, NY: William Morrow. Retrieved from OverDrive. (myLibrary ID is required to access the eBook)

 

Videos and Podcasts

1. The quest for the coronavirus vaccine

Source: The quest for the coronavirus vaccine. TED. Retrieved 2020, April 2.

 

2. From smallpox to the coronavirus: The history of vaccinations explained

Source: From smallpox to the coronavirus: The history of vaccinations explained | NBC Nightly News. (2020, April 1). NBC News. Retrieved 2020, April 2.

 

3. How do vaccines work?

Source: How do vaccines work? – Kelwalin Dhanasarnsombut. (2015, Jan 12). TED-Ed. Retrieved 2020, April 2.

 

Websites

1. Why a coronavirus vaccine takes over a year to produce – and why that is incredibly fast

Why a coronavirus vaccine takes over a year to produce – and why that is incredibly fast. (2020, April 3). World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2020, April 17.

 

2. The power of vaccines: Still not fully utilized

The power of vaccines: Still not fully utilized. (2020). The World Health Organization. Retrieved 2020, April 17.

 

3. Edward Jenner and the history of the smallpox and vaccination

Riedel, S. (2005, January). Edward Jenner and the history of the smallpox and vaccination. Proceedings (Baylor University, Medical Center) 18(1), 21-25. Retrieved on 2020, April 2.

 

4. Making the vaccine decision: Common concerns

Making the vaccine decision: Common concerns | CDC. (2019, August 5). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrieved 2020, April 2.

 

5. MOH to introduce free vaccinations for Singaporean children at polyclinics and CHAS GP clinics

Baker, J.A. & Ang H.M. (2020, March 5). MOH to introduce free vaccinations for Singaporean children at polyclinics and CHAS GP clinics. CNA. Retrieved 2020, April 2.

 

6. Vaccinations: Immunisation boosters for adults

Vaccinations: Immunisation boosters for adults. (2019, October 11). HealthHub. Retrieved 2020, April 2.

 

 

Read the full article here

 

Brought to you by National Library Board. Reproduced with permission.

 


Disclaimer/ Rights statement

The information in this resource guide is valid as of March 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic. All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2020.

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