Every year, 10th November is observed as World Immunization Day. This day is observed to promote & highlight the role of Vaccination as a high impact solution for preventing illness and disease in individuals of all ages along with making people across the globe aware about the importance of getting timely vaccinations right from the beginning of a life to prevent life threatening diseases.
Immunization refers to the process of giving vaccines to an individual to protect him/her from disease. Immunity or protection by immunization is quite similar to the immunity a person will receive from a disease.
However, the difference lies in the source of immunity; instead of disease, you get the vaccine.
Vaccines work with your body’s natural defences to build a protective wall against disease.
An overwhelming majority of health experts, medical researchers, health organizations, and many others favour the concept of immunization.
And why not? After all, immunization is a global health success story, that has saved millions of lives all over the world.
Many diseases that were not curable by medicines were successfully controlled with immunization.
Therefore, to mark the importance of this World Immunization Day, we shall look at various aspects of immunization and help you understand why you need to get vaccinated.
How do vaccinations work?
A vaccine contains an agent similar to disease-causing microbe. However, this agent is either destroyed or weakened so that it does not make you sick. When this biological preparation is injected, the immune system identifies and destroys it.
However, your immune system remembers the agent. When the actual microbe attacks, the immune system safeguards you against the disease.
The majority of vaccinated people are fully protected against the disease. In rare cases, vaccinated people may still get the disease because they get only partial protection from the vaccine.
This occurrence is more prevalent in people with medical conditions that impact the immune system. However, these people may get mildly sick and not suffer any major complications.
To lower the possibility of an outbreak, the majority of a specific community needs to get vaccinated. This type of community protection is known as “herd” or “community” immunity.
To reach the stage of herd immunity, the community must have 75 to 94 per cent of people vaccinated depending on the disease.
The development and usage of vaccination have significantly reduced childhood and adulthood deaths.
Here are a few statistics to understand better.
1. Immunization protects about 3 million lives every year.
2. The global measles mortality rate has been reduced by 74%. This has been possible due to concentrated drives organized for immunization worldwide.
3. The Flu vaccine has caused a 70% decline in hospitalizations.
4. Hepatitis B vaccines have resulted in a considerable decline in the cases of liver cancer.
5. Polio cases have decreased by more than 99%. Only three countries, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan lie under the category of polio-endemic nations.
6. Except for drinking water, no other human mission can be equated with the impact immunization has caused in decreasing infectious diseases mortality; not even antibiotics!
The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading a Global Vaccine Action Plan (GAVP) that wishes to avoid deaths caused due to diseases that can be prevented through vaccination.
The organization is working towards improving the access to vaccinations, thereby increasing the percentage of coverage.
Who all needs to be immunized?
The answer is quite obvious – almost everyone! However, there are some exceptions. These include people with severe health conditions (for example, a weak immune system).
If 95 per cent of us get vaccinated, the spread of a specific disease can be significantly reduced. Vaccination is mainly recommended if you:
1. Have a newborn baby.
2. Are a newborn or young child
3. Are pregnant or preparing for a baby.
4. Are caretakers for very young babies (for example, parents, grandparents, carers).
5. Are an older person.
6. Have plans to travel outside India
7.Are medically at risk due to specific ailments (such as asthma) or treatment.
Reasons to immunize your child
1. If children aren’t vaccinated, then they can act as “disease-spreaders” to children who are too young to be vaccinated or people with weakened immune systems.
This could lead to lasting complications and even cause death for these susceptible people.
2. Immunization safeguards children against serious ailments and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases. A few examples of such ailments are- brain damage, amputation of an arm or leg, paralysis of limbs, hearing loss, convulsions, etc.
3. Diseases, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough, poses an incredible danger to children even today and can be prevented through immunization.
4.Vaccines have lowered and, in some cases, even eradicated many ailments that were a major cause of death or disability just a few generations ago. An example is smallpox vaccination, which has been eliminated worldwide due to rigorous vaccination drives.
Vaccinations aren’t just meant for children. Even adults require them to safeguard against severe diseases.
India requires extensive development and awareness in adult vaccination. While the government of India and WHO do invest in childhood vaccination, there is no focus on adult immunization. Hence, this is the most overlooked part of healthcare services in India.
Adults can be vaccinated for multiple diseases like typhoid, swine flu, pneumonia, hepatitis, tetanus, etc. as well as for Covid – 19.
Vaccines for Covid – 19, hepatitis A and B, pneumococcal and meningococcal meningitis, rabies, human papillomavirus vaccine and tetanus are the most common vaccinations provided in India.
Remember, non-vaccinated people living in healthy conditions are not protected from an ailment. To help your body’s immune system fight disease better and faster, you need to get immunized.
As COVID-19 is a relevantly new disease, it is crucial to check the up-to-date information on vaccination criteria when you consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Talk to your health expert if you are not sure about what immunizations you need. Always consult your doctor before getting any type of vaccination done.
If you are not conversant with your vaccinations, we at Neotia Getwel Healthcare Centre can assist you with doctor Consultation & Vaccination. We have dedicated vaccination centre for both Adults & Children.
To schedule your appointment, click here.