A small amount of weakened or dead viruses or bacteria or proteins made in labs that imitates some virus or bacteria when given to humans in safe and effective quantities for the prevention or cure of the disease is known as vaccination and immunization. This weakened form of diseases when injected to human will trigger the immune system that either produces antibodies for that particular disease or induces processes that enhances immunity. Because of the above process, if the person is exposed to the same kind of diseases, then the immune system is prepared to fight off the infection. Vaccination prevents the onset of diseases or reduces the severity of the disease.
When should immunizations be done?
The main goal of public health is to prevent disease. It is easier and cost-effective to prevent disease than to treat it. Hence, immunization protects the person from the diseases as well as stops the spread to others. Immunization has eradicated the common epidemic diseases such as measles, mumps, whooping cough, etc and near eradication of polio and smallpox.
Few vaccines are given only once whereas few need boosters for maintaining successful immunization and protection against the disease.
Which immunizations do children need?
The recommended vaccines for the children between the age of 0-6 are:
Hepatitis A & B
Hemophilus influenza type B
What are the side effects of immunizations?
Soreness or the redness around the injection site
Apart from the above, there may be other side effects and vary from one vaccine to others. So, please consult the doctor and discuss the risks and side effects of specific vaccine and immunization.
What is the effectiveness of immunization?
Vaccinations are the most effective way of preventing the disease but it is not necessary that it works all the time. Most of the recommended immunization is 90 to 100% effective.
What are the myths and misconceptions about vaccines?
There are various myths and misconceptions about vaccines and few of them are:
Myth 1 - “Vaccinations are not needed for the rare diseases”
Myth 2 - “The preservative used in vaccines (thimerosal) makes the vaccines risky.”