Vaccination is an integral part of not only the early childhood protection of a child from numerous infections, but also the overall development of immunity against multiple diseases throughout the lifespan of the child. Vaccination is recommended by most competent government authorities throughout the world, and the immunization process is conducted according to a fixed and ore determined vaccine schedule which provides the maximum protection to the child.
What is vaccination?
Vaccination is a process by which a person is sensitized to a particular disease causing agent, by injecting a dead or laboratory attenuated version of the agent into the body of the patient. This weekend or dead agent is unable to produce the disease in the host, however, their presence in the body stimulates the immune system of the body to produce protective antibodies, which prevent the body from future infections by those agents in the future. There are two broad types of vaccines. One is the live attenuated type, and the other is the dead vaccine type. In the live attenuated type, the infective agents are grown in specialized conditions in laboratories to produce a strain of the agent which is incapable of producing the disease in the host, but retains the ability to stimulate antibody production. The dead agent type uses killed microbes in the vaccine for generating an immune response.
Why is vaccination important
Vaccination is one of the most important protective measures for a child during early life. Newborns are especially susceptible to infectious agents as their immune systems are not fully developed. Vaccination helps them get sensitized to multiple dangerous diseases of the newborn such as typhoid, polio and tetanus, which protects them during the crucial early period. In addition to this, the antibodies generated due to vaccination persists for a long time, even into adulthood, hence the protection by vaccines is long term. Another important advantage that vaccination provides is it prevents the transmission of highly infectious agents from one person to another thereby cutting of the spread. This makes it a worthwhile tool in combating epidemics, and makes the use of vaccines such as typhoid and swine flu vaccine a recommended one.
What is vaccination schedule?
A vaccine cannot be randomly given to a person, as it takes time to exert its effects. Also rarely a vaccine is given to a child in a single dose, and it requires multiple doses given in a predetermined order, over a period of time to ensure that the vaccine attains full affectivity. In many countries, the government appointed medical body declared an immunization schedule that is followed uniformly across the country in all medical institutions. For example, in India, immunization is dispensed to children under the National Immunization plan. All major vaccines for children such as the BCG, tetanus, Diphtheria, pertussis, and many more are given to the newborns at different time periods to ensure they are protected from all major diseases.
In India another innovative method for polio vaccination is followed, where a national polio day is practiced where all children are given the oral polio vaccine, irrespective of whether or not they have been vaccinated under the national Immunization plan. This is done to cover those children who may have missed the polio vaccine under the National Immunization plan.