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Meningitis Vaccine Controversy: What You Need to Know to Make an Informed Decision for Your Health

Controversy still exists on the use of vaccines despite the supportive pieces of evidence showing that the benefits of vaccination outweigh their potential adverse effects. Many individuals have questioned the efficacy, necessity, and safety of these vaccines hoping that industry regulators and health professionals can help promote transparency on the health benefits of vaccination.

Meningitis vaccine has had many controversies between scientific researchers and the public. It is a vaccine used to prevent Meningitis, which is an inflammation of the meninges located in the brain. While it is important to listen to public opinion regarding healthcare policies, they are not supposed to influence the methodological and evidence-based decision making of health professionals and the regulatory bodies. In this article, we will be discussing everything you need to know about the Meningitis vaccine to make an informed decision about your health.

Basing Decisions on Evidence

Decisions about healthcare often lead to polarized opinions especially when regulatory bodies and healthcare professionals are under tremendous budgetary pressure. Children aged under one year old are at the highest risk of contracting meningococcal bacterial infection. Therefore, they are required to receive Meningitis vaccination during their early years to minimize the risk of infection. Meningitis outbreaks have proven deadly in recent years causing widespread panic among people. Scientific researchers and health professionals have come up with different meningococcal vaccines to help prevent Meningitis. The CDC bulletin on meningitis B vaccination notes that Meningitis infection is rare but the risk is not spread evenly.

Transmission is more prevalent among individuals who share close-quarters living arrangements. Patients who have a family history of immune-system diseases may also be at a higher risk of suffering from the side effects of vaccines such as paralysis, seizures, and life-threatening allergic reactions. Although some people may seem to do fine when administered the Meningitis vaccine, it is important for a doctor to consider all these factors when deciding whether to recommend their patients for this type of vaccine.

The Side Effects of Meningococcal Vaccines

Almost half of the patients who get the vaccine suffer mild side effects such as pain and redness of the skin after injection. However, other patients may suffer from serious side effects such as general body weakness, high fever and changes in behavior. This may happen within minutes or hours after getting the vaccine. A few signs of allergic reactions include trouble breathing, wheezing or hoarseness, paleness, or a fast heartbeat. While health experts may regard some of these effects as normal reactions of the vaccine, there is a lot of concern regarding the safety of the vaccine. Although severe reactions of the vaccine rare, there is a very minimal chance of a vaccine causing serious injury.

Should Meningitis Vaccination be Mandatory?

Another controversy arises on whether the Meningitis vaccine should be mandatory if the chances of Meningitis infection is rare and unevenly spread. Mandatory vaccination is something that has been debated for quite a long time now especially in countries where it is a must for parents to have their children vaccinated. Some say that legislation has influenced other areas of public health and safety such as the use of seatbelts and smoking ban and that the same can be done with immunization. Individuals on the opposing side have expressed their concerns that there is lack of evidence due to insufficient research that mandatory vaccination will help increase uptake.

According to health experts, the Meningitis vaccine works to promote good health and save lives. Despite their solid efforts to do good for the general public, the reduced uptake of vaccines in some countries is thought to be caused partly by misguided concerns over vaccine safety. Making Meningitis vaccination compulsory does not motivate parents to take their children for immunization. The best way regulatory bodies can increase vaccine uptake amongst parents who are hesitant about the vaccine is by talking concerns through with a trusted health professional.

One thing we are certain about is that Meningitis is a very deadly disease that can strike without warning. Many health professionals suggest that vaccination is the only proven way to prevent the devastating effects of this disease. However, there are many concerns about the safety, necessity, and efficacy of the Meningitis vaccine. Instead of making it mandatory to take the vaccine, health experts need to be transparent in explaining the necessity of the vaccine and the reason why it is the best solution for preventing Meningitis. Having an idea of how the vaccine works and what to expect after it is injected in the body not only prepares you physically and mentally, but also gives you peace of mind and an assurance of a healthy lifestyle.

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