Immunization saves between 2 and 3 million lives each year by controlling and eliminating certain life-threatening diseases. Immunization is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by administering vaccines.
Immunization Vs Vaccination
Vaccination is when a vaccine is administered to you (usually by an injection). Immunization is what happens in your body after vaccination.
Babies get some natural immunity from mothers through breastfeeding, is it still important to give immunization?
Yes! The immunity received from the mother gradually diminishes as the baby’s own immune system starts to develop. Also, there are some deadly diseases they can’t handle. That’s why they need vaccines to strengthen their immune system and get extra protection.
How Do Vaccines Work?
A child is exposed to thousands of germs every day through the food he eats, air he breathes, and things he puts in his mouth. Vaccines use very small amounts of substances (antigens) that help your child’s immune system to recognize and learn to fight serious diseases.
Simply put: Both, getting a disease or getting a vaccine, can get the immune system active and give future protection from that disease. But, the difference is that with the disease you have to get sick to get that protection. With the vaccine, you don’t.
How And Where Can A Child Be Immunized?
A child can be immunized in a nearby government health center. Vaccinations are also provided by private hospitals and private doctors.
What Is The Cost?
Immunization is available free of cost in government hospitals against the vaccine-preventable diseases under the Govt. of India’s Universal Immunization Program (UIP).
Can A Child Receive Vaccination Even If He Has Missed A Few Doses?
Definitely yes, even if your child has missed a few vaccinations, it is still advisable to follow the immunization schedule.
Are Vaccines Safe?
Like any medicine, vaccines can cause mild side effects such as a low-grade fever, or pain and redness at the injection site. These would generally go away within a few days on their own. There is a 1 in a MILLION chance of getting a serious reaction to a vaccine.
What Are Safe Injection Practices?
-Ensure that one needle; one syringe is used only one time. Both needle and syringe must be discarded once they have been used.
-Follow the immunization schedule as per the guidelines.
-Keep a track of your immunization record and carry it along before getting any subsequent vaccination done.
-Always consult your doctor before getting any type of vaccination done.
-And, remember, immunization aims to protect people of all ages against disease, including infants, children, teens, and adults. Vaccines aren’t just for kids.
Vaccines can act as a bulletproof jacket against some of the serious infectious diseases. Despite the miraculous benefits, an estimated 18.7 million infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines. In fact, vaccine hesitancy has been identified by the WHO as one of the top ten global health threats of 2019.
Want to know more about the recommended immunization schedules? Don’t let any confusion hold you back from getting the superpower to prevent diseases. Consult An Expert.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. World Immunization Week. National Health Portal of India (NHP). https://www.nhp.gov.in/world-immunization-week_pg