Immunization is the most effective preventive health measure. It is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to infections, typically by the administration of a vaccine. A large number of vaccines have been developed to provide protection against many life-threatening diseases. It’s a very common myth that immunizing children reduces their natural fighting power. But the truth is not the same. Every child has a general immunity, which determines his tendency to catch general infections. But by vaccination, we induce specific immunity to particular disease which otherwise may even cause death.
How do vaccines work?
By immunization, we give the bacteria/virus antigens which have lost their infectivity but are still able to challenge the immune system of our body. Our immune system synthesizes protective antibodies against that bacteria/virus. These antibodies act by blocking the actual bacteria and virus when a child is exposed to that thus prevents the invasion and infection by the same. Thus immunization directly benefits the immunized child. Immunization in childhood and adolescent gives lifelong immunity. In few cases, if despite vaccination child gets an infection, it’s usually mild in severity. Thus immunization not only protects the health of the child but also decreases the cost of treatment.
Immunization of children also induces community immunity or herd immunity i.e if large numbers of children are immunized; it protects the unimmunized children also by decreasing the transmission of infection in the community. So regular immunization of children decreases disease burden in society and also the financial burden on government.
Immunisation earlier protects babies in pregnant mothers wombs:
Pregnancy is a most crucial period in women’s lives. Pregnant women are more prone to infections which can cause disease & malformation in developing fetus and at times abortion also. Immunization done during childhood not only protects mother during pregnancy from infections but also the fetus developing inside. Immunity of mother is transferred to newborn and protects him from infections till he himself can be immunized and protected.
So immunization protects child himself, future generation and the society from disease burden.