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November: worldwide immunizations weeks 2022: What do we know about the benefits of immunisation?

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How does immunization help eliminate disease?

Immunizations are one of the biggest health successes of the last century. Some diseases that are caused by viruses can’t be cured with antibiotics. The only way to control them is by immunization.

With continued immunization programmers, such diseases may no longer be a threat.

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Benefits for you

As children develop they’re exposed to many risks, one of these risks being infections. Most of these will cause mild illnesses. However, despite great medical advances, infection can still cause severe illness, disability and, at times, death., Before vaccines were available, many children in the UK died from diseases such as whooping cough, measles and polio.

Despite successful immunization programmers, the diseases that vaccines protect against do still exist., The benefit of immunization is that your child has the best possible protection against dangerous diseases. This can give you peace of mind.

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Benefits for us all

When your child is immunized they’re helping to protect the health of the whole community.

When enough people are immunized against an infection, it’s more difficult for it to be spread to those who are not immunized. This is called ‘herd immunity’ or ‘population protection’., This is important because children with some severe medical conditions and allergies can’t have certain vaccines.

Vaccines, vaccination and immunization

What is a vaccine?

A vaccine is the product made from killed or live, weakened strains of viruses or bacteria used to induce immunity against infectious diseases.

Vaccines differ from other medical drugs in two important ways. The first is that they are designed to prevent disease, rather than treat it. They do this by priming a person’s immune system to recognize a specific disease-causing bacteria, virus or other germs.

This “memory” can last years, or in some cases for life, which is why vaccination can be so effective, stopping people from getting sick rather than waiting until disease occurs. The second is that vaccines by their nature tend to be biological products, rather than chemicals like most drugs.

This not only means that the processes involved in making them are usually more complex and expensive.

What is vaccination?

Vaccination refers to the act of giving a vaccine to a person. When a vaccine is given, it triggers an immune response in your body. This protects you if you come into contact with strains of that disease again in the natural environment.

Vaccines differ from other medical drugs in two important ways. The first is that they are designed to prevent disease, rather than treat it. They do this by priming a person’s immune system to recognize a specific disease-causing bacteria, virus or other pathogen. This “memory” can last years, or in some cases for life, which is why vaccination can be so effective, stopping people from getting sick rather than waiting until disease occurs. The second is that vaccines by their nature tend to be biological products, rather than chemicals like most drugs.

What is immunization?

Immunizations refers to the process of becoming immune to a disease as a result of a vaccine. Immunizations protect people against specific diseases by using the body’s natural defence mechanism – the immune response.

The World Health Organization considers immunization to be the most effective medical intervention we have to prevent deaths and reduce disease in our communities

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines contain the same germ that causes disease. But the germs in the vaccine have been killed or weakened so that they do not make you sick. Some vaccines contain only a part of the germ that causes disease.

When you get immunized, your body is tricked into thinking that it has been infected with the disease. It makes antibodies that kill the germs. These antibodies stay in your body for a long time and remember how to fight the germ. If the germs from the disease enter your body in the future, the antibodies destroy the germs before you can become sick. It is much safer to get a vaccine than the disease. 

Most people are fully protected against the disease after getting immunized. In rare cases, people who are immunized can still get the disease because they only get partial protection from the vaccine. This is more common in people with medical conditions that affect the immune system. Although these people may still get the disease, they will most likely get a milder sickness and not suffer serious complications.

What are the different types of vaccines?

Vaccines are medications that are used to make people immune to certain diseases. They contain the bacteria or virus, or parts of the bacteria or virus, that cause illness and disease.

The bacteria or virus is included in the vaccine so that the immune system can be taught to recognize and produce antibodies against it if a person is exposed to it naturally, without the person ever experiencing any symptoms of illness or disease.

What is herd immunity?

When a significant proportion of people in a community have become immune to a specific disease through immunization, people who are still susceptible to the disease are less likely to come into contact with someone who is carrying the infectious agent.

If enough people are immunized, it is possible to protect most of the community from the disease. This is called ‘herd immunity’. If you have good herd immunity (at least 95% are immunized), then even those who are not able to be immunized, for example very young infants, or people with medical conditions, are protected from the disease.

There are four types of vaccines that are widely used against several diseases, but there are new types of vaccines being developed that may be cheaper and provide longer immunity than existing vaccines.

Some existing types of vaccines will cause more side effects than others, such as the live-attenuated vaccine, which may not be suitable for people living with long-term health conditions or people with a weakened immune system., While some vaccines use live versions of a particular virus or bacteria, other vaccines can use only a part of the virus or bacteria to trigger an immune response, which may produce stronger immune action against the germ because of its specificity.

Medical advice should be sought before being vaccinated against a particular disease.

Why are vaccines important?

Vaccines are important because they protect you against many diseases. These diseases can be very serious. So, getting immunity from a vaccine is safer than getting immunity by being sick with the disease. And for a few vaccines, getting vaccinated can actually give you a better immune response than getting the disease would.

But vaccines don’t just protect you. They also protect the people around you through community immunity.

What is community immunity?

Community immunity, or herd immunity, is the idea that vaccines can help keep communities healthy., Normally, germs can travel quickly through a community and make a lot of people sick. If enough people get sick, it can lead to an outbreak. But when enough people are vaccinated against a certain disease, it’s harder for that disease to spread to others. This type of protection means that the entire community is less likely to get the disease.

Community immunity is especially important for people who can’t get certain vaccines. For example, they may not be able to get a vaccine because they have weakened immune systems. Others may be allergic to certain vaccine ingredients. And newborn babies are too young to get some vaccines. Community immunity can help to protect them all.

Risks of a vaccine reaction

Pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, mild fever, headache, feeling tired, and nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach ache sometimes happen after Tdap vaccination.

People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.

As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.

Are vaccines safe during pregnancy?

Certain vaccines are safe and recommended for women before, during, and after pregnancy to help keep them and their babies healthy. The antibodies mothers develop in response to these vaccines not only protect them, but also cross the placenta and help protect their babies from serious diseases early in life. Vaccinating during pregnancy also helps protect a mother from getting a serious disease and then giving it to her newborn.

Can a vaccine harm the developing baby?

Some vaccines, especially live vaccines, should not be given to pregnant women because they may be harmful to the baby. Keep in mind that vaccine recommendations for pregnant women are developed with the highest safety concerns for both mothers and babies.

Is it safe to take antibiotics during pregnancy?

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed during pregnancy. However, the specific type of medication must be chosen carefully. Some antibiotics are OK to take during pregnancy, while others are not. Safety depends on various factors, including the type of antibiotic, when in your pregnancy you take the antibiotic and for how long, how much you take, and the possible effects it might have on your pregnancy.

If an antibiotic is the best way to treat your condition, your doctor will prescribe the safest antibiotic and dosage. If you have questions or concerns about the use of an antibiotic during pregnancy, talk to your doctor.

Covid-19 vaccine and pregnancy

Yes, you can get vaccinated if you are pregnant. COVID-19 during pregnancy puts you at higher risk of becoming severely ill and of giving birth prematurely.

Many people around the world have been vaccinated against COVID-19 while pregnant or breastfeeding. No safety concerns have been identified for them or their babies. Getting vaccinated while pregnant helps to protect your baby. For more information about receiving a COVID-19 vaccination while pregnant, speak to your Doctor.

For further information on Gambia immunization agency, ministry of health, Unicef, email to [email protected], send only text messages to Dr Azadeh WhatsApp on 002207774469 WORKING DAYS BETWEEN 3TO 6 PM.

Dr. H. Azadeh MD, Senior Lecturer at the University of The Gambia, Clinical Director at Medicare Health Services.

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