With the cases of Covid-19 around the world nearly reaching 100 million, there is no doubting the severity of the virus. It has completely changed our world as we know it over the last year or so. Thankfully, there are finally some vaccines that have received the go-ahead to begin being administered to the public. Vaccines play an important role in protecting people from a wide range of different viruses, from the flu, to the mumps, to the measles and several others.
While getting the vaccine is an intelligent and good idea for a majority of the population, what about those with suppressed immune systems? A suppressed immune system essentially means that some part of your immune system is not working properly. This can leave you susceptible to illness, and illnesses you do get could end up being more severe.
Several things can lead to suppressed immune systems, from diseases like cancer to some drugs that are given to treat specific issues. Should these individuals consider getting vaccines (covid-19 or otherwise) or are the risks too high? In an effort to help, this article is going to go over whether these individuals should get vaccines or not. In addition to that, we are also going to take a closer look at just how vaccines work.
How Do Vaccines Work?
Before we get into whether or not those with a weakened immune system should get a vaccine, it is important to be aware of what a vaccine actually does. There is a lot of misinformation out there, so it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the topic. There are also many different types of vaccines out there.
Many vaccines use either a component of a virus, a live (but weakened) form of the virus, or a killed version of a germ that caused a disease. Your body recognizes the existence of this once the vaccine is administered, and fights it off. But not only does it fight it off, it remembers the exact germ and how to destroy it.
This means that if you are ever infected with the actual strong and full version of the virus, your body will already know what to do in order to fight it off and block it altogether. It will remember what it specifically needs to do, which is why you become immune.
However, the two recent Covid-19 vaccines (from Pfizer and Moderna), don’t use a live form of the virus at all. Instead, they use a small piece of the genetic code of the virus in the form of messenger RNA. This mRNA tells your cells to manufacture a specific protein that is unique to the Covid-19 virus. This protein is generally how the virus will latch onto your cells. This triggers an immune response in our body, where this foreign protein is destroyed.
Even though the process is different, the result is still the same. Your body learns the way to fight off this protein, so the next time it encounters it (such as when you come in contact with Covid-19), it will already have the blueprint for how to destroy it quickly and effectively.
All without having to come in contact with the virus at all, as the protein your body creates as a result of the mRNA is harmless and non-infectious. If you want to learn more about the coronavirus vaccine and some of the myths and facts surrounding them, be sure to check out this article: HealthTap: CoronaVirus Vaccine safety: a blog post
Should Those With Suppressed Immune Systems Get a Vaccine?
So with all that being said, is it a good idea for these individuals to get a vaccine? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a clear one. On the one hand, these people are more vulnerable to certain diseases and viruses, so being vaccinated can help protect them.
On the other, however, vaccines that introduce live organisms or components of the virus itself can be risky. It could potentially make the person ill in a way that the vaccine wouldn’t under normal circumstances. As you could imagine, this can be very problematic as the last thing someone with a weakened immune system needs is a virus or illness.
You need to be sure to speak to a healthcare professional before you decide either way. They will generally know what’s best and get you up to speed on the potential risks. In general, it will depend on what type of vaccine is used. Many of those with compromised immune systems will shy away from vaccines that introduce live organisms, but can generally get the aforementioned mRNA vaccines without an issue.
However, in order to truly know the best course of action, be sure to have a long and detailed discussion with your healthcare professional about what your options are, and the risks associated with them. Every person is different, and just how suppressed their immune system can also be a factor in whether or not getting a vaccine is safe.
In conclusion, vaccines play an incredibly important role in keeping people all around the world safe from a variety of different viruses. However, before those with compromised immune systems receive a vaccine, it is a good idea to speak with a trusted healthcare provider to find the best solution for your situation.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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