AP Bio immunology question?

Both and injectable inactivated (killed) vaccine and an oral attenuated (live) vaccine are available for immunization agains polio- virus, which can cause paralysis by destroying nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The oral vaccine is no longer recommended in western countries, where polio has been eradicated, because the live virus in this vaccine may mutate to a more virulent form, and be reintroduced into the population. HOwever, the oral vaccine continues to be used in countries where polio persists because it is easy to administer (no needle!) and is highly effective. Moreover, the attenuated virus can spread to (and immunize) unvaccinated individuals. Do you feel this risk of mutation to virulence (about 1 in 12 million) is acceptable when compared with the benefits of oral vaccination? How do you think public health decisions of this type should be made?

1 Answer

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    What it boils down to is cost vs benefit for the greatest number of individuals. It costs hundreds of thousands to treat and manage someone with polio over their lifetime, and the emotional scars have an incalculable cost. Polio is one of the most horrific diseases ever, so if one person must contract polio for the sake of preventing thousands from contracting the disease, so be it. Those that end up with the disease from taking the vaccine would likely have contracted the illness anyway without large-scale vaccination programs due to the fact that their immune systems lack the capability of preventing infection from fully taking hold before the damage is done. In my opinion, any parent whom actively prevents their child from being vaccinated for any illness that a vaccine is available for is committing child abuse. Some people do so because they think the MMR vaccine causes autism. This has been conclusively proven wrong. The scientist that performed the research making the link has been discredited and blackballed. Of course, the media are also largely to blame for this as they followed their sensationalism instincts but never followed through with due diligence when the truth was revealed.

    Source(s): Me. Doctor extraordinaire
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