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CHECK Berlin #3

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ENGLISH Health THE MYTH

ENGLISH Health THE MYTH OF VACCINATION Vaccinations are one of the most effective measures to prevent infectious diseases. You not only protect yourself, but indirectly other people who have not been vaccinated, as vaccination can stop or reduce the spread of an infectious disease. We have summarized the biggest myths and misunderstandings about vaccination protection for you. We don’t need vaccinations because diseases can also be treated with antibiotics The treatment options are of course better than they used to be. However, antibiotics only help against bacterial infections and are ineffective against viruses. So-called antibiotic resistance is also a major problem, as it is increasingly threatening the treatment options for bacterial diseases. The World Health Organization warned in 2014 that antibiotics would have to be used less if bacterial infections could be prevented through vaccinations and improved hygiene. Some bacterial diseases are also extremely difficult to treat. Among other things, tetanus infections, bacterial meningitis, and whooping cough can be fatal even with modern medical interventions. Vaccinations are used to prevent infections and can thus prevent diseases so that therapy is no longer necessary. Not every vaccination provides 100 percent protection against infection, but it can at least weaken the course. You can get sick despite being vaccinated No single vaccination can protect all vaccinated people without exception, just as no drug works for every patient. However, vaccinations can significantly reduce the likelihood of illness. The flu vaccination, for example, protects around 40 to 75 percent of those vaccinated against the flu, depending on age and state of health, with the vaccination usually having the least effect on old people. In addition, there are vaccinations that only prevent particularly severe disease courses. This is the case with vaccination against tuberculosis. It provided little protection against tuberculosis infection per se, but it was able to alleviate the course of an existing infection. Vaccinations do not protect in the long term and have to be repeated constantly Whether a vaccination has to be repeated or not varies from vaccine to vaccine. In the case of tetanus, diphtheria, polio or whooping cough, a vaccination offers protection for five to ten years - after which it should be repeated. A flu vaccination offers much shorter protection: Since the flu pathogen mutates extremely quickly, people at risk have to have their immune protection refreshed every year with a newly composed vaccine. However, it does not mean that this vaccination protection is less effective. An annual flu vaccination can reduce the risk of life-threatening disease progression for the chronically ill or old. There are doctors who advise against vaccinating Few doctors are completely against vaccination. However, there are some who take a critical stance towards individual vaccinations. But that doesn‘t mean that there are necessarily scientific reasons for this. Personal experiences, religious or philosophical convictions also play an important role here. The German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors (DZVhÄ) emphasized in a statement from 2002 that a discussion about the benefits and disadvantages of vaccinations is perfectly legitimate and the decision for or against it must be made individually. At the same time, however, the DZVhÄ reaffirmed the importance of the Standing Vaccination Commission at the Robert Koch Institute. Their recommendations are „carefully considered and take into account the current state of knowledge with the aim of fundamentally preventing the occurrence of many infectious diseases.“ The pharmaceutical industry only wants to make money with vaccinations Private companies in all industries have a legitimate interest in making money from their products. The pharmaceutical industry is no exception. But there is a big financial difference between the medical drug business and the vaccine business. Of the almost 194 billion euros that the German statutory health insurance spent in 2014, 33 billion euros (17%) went to drugs and just over 1 billion euros (0.65%) to vaccines. One reason for this is that the chronically ill have to take medication for a lifetime, while vaccines are usually only administered a few times. From the perspective of the pharmaceutical industry, the vaccine business is also less attractive because the manufacture of vaccines is far more complex and expensive than that of pharmaceuticals. There are fewer and fewer vaccine manufacturers worldwide, to which economic considerations may also have contributed. (ts,sw) Sources: RKI, BZgA The most important vaccinations for adults in Germany are: • Diphteria • TBE (early summer meningoencephalitis) • Flu (Influenza) • Shingles (herpes zoster) • Measles • Whooping cough (pertussis) • Pneumococci • Polio • Rubella • Tetanus • Mumps disease 30 CHECK | AUSGABE 3 CHECK | AUSGABE 3 31

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blu, hinnerk, gab, rik, Leo – die Magazine der blu Mediengruppe erscheinen monatlich in den Metropolen Deutschlands. Die nationale Reichweite der Magazine ermöglicht den reisefreudigen Lesern Zugriff auf alle Informationen immer und überall. Themenschwerpunkte sind neben der regionalen queeren Szene, Kultur, Wellness, Design, Mode und Reise. Unsere Titel sind mit der lokalen Community jahrzehntelang gewachsen und eng verbunden, was durch Medienpartnerschaften mit den CSD-Paraden in Hamburg, Berlin, München und Frankfurt sowie zahlreiche Kooperationen, wie der Christmas Avenue in Köln, seinen Ausdruck findet.