World Immunization Week: Our Expert Tells All About Vaccines And Why You Need To Be Vaccinated
World Immunization Week 2018: Vaccination is a process which protects children from the complications and illness of vaccine-preventable diseases.
World Immunization Week 2018: Vaccination is important for your children
- Vaccines are important to prevent communicable diseases
- World Immunization Week highlight the importance of vaccination for all
- Parents should get all important vaccinations for their children
After the birth of your newborn, the most important thing to do is to get him/her vaccinated. On the occasion of World Immunization Week, which is observed from April 24 to April 30, we talk about the importance of vaccines and vaccination. Vaccination is a process which protects children from the complications and illness of vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases can include hearing loss and paralysis of limbs. They also include widely infectious diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough. Dr Krishan Chugh tells us all about vaccination and the importance of vaccination.
What are vaccines?
He says, "Vaccinations are basically meant to prevent diseases. If the disease is minor, there is no need to create a vaccination for it. Vaccines are created for those diseases which are severe and more frequent. Creating vaccines for rare severe cases is not given that much of a priority."
Explaining about the cases where vaccines have helped in prevention and eradication of disease, he says, "Creating vaccines is done for diseases like polio, the incidence of which was massive in our country. But now it has been so many years and not a single case of polio has been reported. Polio eradication is the biggest success story of a vaccine."
He goes on to give instance of small pox. "It was in 1970s that the World Health Organization launched a vaccination program for small pox. The current generation has not seen a single case of small pox," he explains.
Also read: World Immunization Week: 6 Essential Vaccines For Your Infants
Vaccines for highly communicable diseases are very important. That is the reason why we have vaccines for preventing diseases like hepatitis, typhoid and chicken pox.
"But there are also diseases like dengue fever, which is very common in almost every part of the world and spreads rapidly. Cases of dengue are on an alarming high and yet we are not able to create a successful vaccine for it," adds Dr Krishan.
Vaccines prevent these infections in not only on an individual but on a mass scale. This is because communicable diseases spread from one person to the other. They can spread through touching or even cough of the infected person. Their germs keep on passing from one person to other.
"Vaccines help in breaking this cycle of spread of communicable diseases," says Dr Krishan.
He says that vaccines are created on the bases of disease burden on the health system. "Once the disease burden is known, you would know if a vaccine should be introduced for it or not," he says.
Explaining the process of creation of vaccines and which countries need a particular vaccination, Dr Krishan says, "Vaccines are first created in the laboratory and tested on animals. They are then tested for a phase 1 trial where they are tested on 10 to 20 people. They are then tested on larger individuals. If the vaccine works well and have a proof that a disease can be prevented from it, then it can be introduced in several countries. This is how a vaccine can be created and accepted. And whether the vaccination should be given in our country will depend on the disease burden of that country."
For instance, yellow fever is dangerously common in Africa. But we in India will not use that vaccine unless the disease is in our country. "However, it is a given that any vaccine should be introduced on a mass scale only," he says.
Also read: World Immunization Week 2018: Significance And Theme
Guidelines for parents
Dr Krishan says that parents should make sure that they get their children injected with all vaccines in India. Some vaccines are categorised as optional only because of their cost, he says. "All vaccines are important and parents should not be under the illusion that their children don't need vaccination because they are healthy and have no deficiency."
Vaccines side effects
Dr Krishan says that since vaccines are foreign substances injected in the body, they will have some minor side effects. "But these foreign substances have been trained to make the body react in a very positive manner. It is very rare that a patient responds negatively to a vaccine. Vaccines are introduced only after ensuring that they have a majority of positive effects and very less negative ones. Little bit of pain, swelling and rashes for a day or two are common symptoms after vaccination," he concludes.
(Dr Krishan Chugh is Director and HOD, Department of Pediatrics, Fortis Hospital, Gurgaon)
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