Vaccines have performed an important role in our history. The concept is simple. It takes advantage of our immune system’s ardent response to whatever it perceives as harmful to our bodies.
When the immune system detects something it perceives as harmful, it will mount a defense response that usually includes antibodies against that particular invading substance, most notably bacteria and viruses, though sometimes misguided to include pollens and foods, and occasionally one’s own organs. The immune system has the ability to create innumerable, unique antibodies—one unique design of antibody for each target. These antibodies will never give up their protective stance.
The first successful implementation of a vaccine with the expressed intent of instilling immunity against a known pathogen occurred in 1796. Scientist, Edward Jenner, noticed that milkmaids, who were exposed to the toxin cowpox, were not getting the relatively common and deadly smallpox infection. He surmised that their exposure to minute amounts of the cowpox toxin established their successful defense against the deadly smallpox virus. He then purposely exposed others to the vaccine to alert their immune system in a protective manner.
Today’s commercial vaccines similarly stimulate immune responses by introducing minute amounts of substances that society perceives as a danger; e.g. smallpox, malaria, polio, hepatitis, many common childhood contagious illnesses, etc. These substances may be treated or killed so as not to create the very illness that it is trying to prevent and yet retain their identifying molecular structures.
The immune system detects these minute amounts of invading substances and creates antibodies to them, thus establishing a unique antibody system against future invasions of larger, more problematic invasions of that substance.
For example, if a person is vaccinated against a particular flu virus, antibodies will already be available to fend off an attack by that particular virus before they can multiply and cause a serious illness. A key to remember here is that immunity will be established with that specific and unique antibody, only for that specific virus, not flu viruses in general.
Vaccines are enjoying a long history of staving off worldwide epidemics. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have infused significant amounts of money and energy into the efforts for an epidemic free world. On the grand scale it is experiencing great success. Its success is associated with what is called the herd theory. By getting a majority of people to participate in the vaccine program, it can effectively harness the rampant spread of virulent diseases.
In theory, vaccines work beautifully. Their implementation, however, is complicated by demands for long shelf life and ease of administration. Anything added is subject to a response, as each individual’s immune system tries to determine its potential harm to the body and, also, simply because of its inherent toxicity.
As is true with any exposure in life, a lot is dependent upon an individual’s personal susceptibility. Most people are able to withstand exposures to small amounts of toxins, while others may react adversely.
Dr. Miles practices Naturopathic Medicine alongside other holistic practitioners at the Catalina Clinic of Integrative Medicine in Catalina, Arizona. www.catalinaclinic.com