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What One Needs to Know In Immunisation

What One Needs to Know In Immunisation

by: Dr. Amitava Sen Gupta
Director - Mother & Child, Neonatology and Paediatrics

The IAP sets the Indian childhood immunization schedule based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)—a group of medical and public health experts. Vaccines do not overload the immune system. Every day, a healthy baby’s immune system successfully fights off millions of antigens—the parts of germs that cause the body’s immune system to go to work. The antigens in vaccines come from the germs themselves, but the germs are weakened or killed so they cannot cause serious illness. Vaccines provide your children protection to fight against the diseases. It should also be noted that at present vaccines are not available for all life threatening diseases, hence it is pivotal that you protect your children with the existing medical research and advancements.

How vaccines protect us?

  • Vaccines contain only a tiny fraction of the antigens that babies encounter every day in their environment, even if they receive several vaccines on one day.
  • Infants and young children who follow immunization schedules that spread out shots—or leave out shots—are at risk of developing diseases during the time that shots are delayed.
  • Some vaccine-preventable diseases, like pertussis and chickenpox, remain common and children may be exposed to these diseases during the time they are not protected by vaccines. Unvaccinated children who do not get ill are fortunate.

  • Others who are not so lucky end up with an illness that could have been prevented, placing them at risk for a serious case of disease that might cause hospitalization or death.
  • In addition, the only way to keep some children safe is by ensuring that others around them are vaccinated. For example, some children with weakened immune systems—such as children undergoing chemotherapy— cannot safely receive certain vaccines. Other vaccines are safe for these children, but do not work well because their immune systems do not respond normally.
  • Children do not receive any known benefits from following schedules that delay vaccines. Delaying vaccines puts children at known risk of becoming ill with diseases that could have been prevented.
  • Parents who are concerned about the number of shots given at one time can reduce the number given at a visit by using the flexibility built into the current recommended immunization schedule.
  • Depending on the vaccine, more than one dose is needed to build high enough immunity to prevent disease, boost immunity that fades over time, make sure people who did not get immunity from a first dose are protected, or protect against germs that change over time.

 

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