World Immunization Day is celebrated every year on November 10. This day is celebrated to make people aware about the importance of getting timely vaccinations against vaccine preventable diseases.
Immunization is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. Immunization helps protect the child from life threatening diseases. It also helps reduce the spread of disease to others. Vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease. Babies are born with some natural immunity which they get from their mother through breast-feeding. This immunity gradually diminishes as the baby’s own immune system starts to develop. Immunization is one of the most cost-effective health investments and vaccination does not require any major lifestyle change.
According to WHO, Immunization is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year but an estimated 18.7 million infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines.
India has one of the largest Universal Immunization Programs (UIP) in the world in terms of the quantities of vaccines used, number of beneficiaries covered, geographical spread and human resources involved. Despite being operational for over 30 years, UIP has been able to fully immunize only 65% children in the first year of their life and the increase in coverage has stagnated. To achieve full immunization coverage for all children, the Government of India launched Mission Indradhanush in December 2014. The ultimate goal of this program is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years and pregnant women. Under this programme, all vaccines are available free of cost.
A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins or one of its surface proteins.
If the babies get antibodies from mother, why is it important to give immunization?
The antibodies received from mother do not last long, leaving the infant vulnerable to disease. Moreover, immunization gives extra protection against deadly diseases.
How and where can a child be immunized?
A child can be immunized in a nearby government health centre. Vaccinations are also provided by the private hospitals and private doctors.
How much does it cost?
Immunization is free of cost in government hospitals against the vaccine preventable diseases under the Universal Immunization Program (UIP).
Are there any reasons to delay immunization?
There are very few medical reasons (contra indications) to delay immunization:
- The child has a high fever
- A bad reaction to another immunization
- Severe reaction after eating eggs
- Past history of convulsion(fits)
- Cancer or any illness which affects the immune system, for example, HIV or AIDS.
My kid is healthy, active and eats well. Is it necessary to go for immunization?
Vaccination provides a shield against the disease before it develops. If you wait to get vaccinated after the disease, it might get too late. Prevention is better than cure.
Are there any side effects of vaccines?
Vaccines are mostly safe. Only some individuals may develop side effects such as swelling, redness or a minor fever. These side effects last only for a couple of days.
Can my 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.
Safe Injection Practices:
It is very essential for patients to be aware that unsafe injection practices can cause a serious threat to their health. It is the duty of healthcare providers (doctors, nurses, and anyone providing injections) to be alert while giving an injection to the patient.
Points to remember for patients:
- Ensure that one needle; one syringe is used only one time.
- Make sure that both needle and syringe must be discarded once they have been used. It is very unsafe to change the needle and reuse the syringe as this practice can transmit disease.
- 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.
References and Further Reading:
World Immunization Week Recap..