Lesson Ideas

Five Scientific Articles about Vaccination for Middle and High School Students

Kids in middle school and high school may be too old to remember their early childhood immunizations, but they’re old enough to be exposed to misleading anti-vaccination literature and videos online about the safety of vaccinations. We want to help you teach them how vital vaccines are in stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that it can later use to fight infection—in fact, vaccines save millions of lives every year. The following five articles, covering a variety of reading levels, scientific methods, and types of figures, take a closer look at the effective use of vaccinations to prevent five different diseases.

How Can We Keep the World Free of Measles?

While measles is already very uncommon in countries with strong health care due to widespread vaccination among young people, that isn’t the case everywhere: vaccination programs in some countries have reduced the number of cases but failed to prevent tens of thousands of child deaths. In this article, mathematical models were used to study how well different vaccination programs might work at preventing measles from spreading through a country. The results show that under the right conditions, it can be possible to keep measles away for good – and herd immunity plays an important role.

This adaptation is suitable for a middle school or lower high school reading level and includes both a map and a scatter plot.

To Be Vaccinated or Not—How does the Internet Influence a Pregnant Woman’s Decision?

The Internet has become an important source of medical information for people today. This adaptation examines the impact of online media on the opinions of pregnant women and healthcare providers about two maternal vaccines: whooping cough (pertussis) and the flu (influenza). Most pertussis articles used real-life cases and focused on protecting the baby, while influenza articles focused on protecting the mother, or both the mother and the baby. The survey results show that both pregnant women and healthcare providers’ opinions expressed similar opinions to those of the articles, which may explain why more women are choosing to be vaccinated against pertussis than influenza.

This adaptation is suitable for a middle school or lower high school reading level and includes both a data table and bar graph.

How to Prevent Rabies in India?

Many countries in Asia and Africa struggle to prevent this deadly disease, which is usually transmitted to humans when they are bitten by a rabid dog. This study used a computer model that showed that vaccinating dogs against rabies in India would make it possible to control the disease in both dogs and humans, and further, that it is a cost-efficient method in comparison to the ways rabies is currently prevented and treated there.

This adaptation is suitable for a middle school or lower high school reading level and presents data in a bar graph.

How Can We Control HIV Worldwide?

About half of the people living with HIV worldwide are not getting the treatment they need; millions of people die from HIV every year. This study used a computer model to look at two possibilities for reducing HIV: providing treatment to more people and giving people a vaccine (currently being developed by researchers) that protects them from getting the virus in the first place. The results show that providing treatment to more people living with HIV will save a lot of lives, but giving a preventative vaccine could move the world towards getting rid of HIV forever.

This adaptation is suitable for a lower high school reading level and presents information in a pictograph and a bar graph.

How Can We Better Prevent Polio?

The polio vaccine is an effective preventative measure against this potentially deadly disease, but the current two-shot vaccination is difficult to achieve in developing countries, where healthcare workers have trouble reaching their patients more than once. This article follows the experiments of scientists trying to develop a vaccine that requires only one injection, using safe compounds to mimic the current 2-shot schedule and stabilize the vaccine. The resulting immune responses among rats are promising, and hopefully, this approach will help with the development of vaccines against other infectious diseases as well.

This adaptation is suitable for both lower and upper high school reading levels and presents the results in time-series graphs.

Other Resources

Our site offers hundreds of scientific articles about vaccines, infectious diseases, outbreaks, disease control, and health and medical topics. Everything is free to download! Use the filter to find the ones you need!

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