Saturday, May 1, 2021
VACCINE | Why are children/infants given vaccination?
When a disease-carrying microbe enters our body, the body produces antibodies to fight the invader. The body also remembers how to fight the microbe if it enters again. If dead or weakened microbes are introduced into a healthy body, the body fights and kills the invading bacteria by producing suitable antibodies. The antibodies remain in the body and we are protected from the disease-causing microbes forever. This is how a vaccine works. Several diseases, including cholera, tuberculosis, smallpox and hepatitis can be prevented by vaccination. In your childhood, you must have been given injections to protect yourself against several diseases.
Edward Jenner discovered the vaccine for smallpox in 1798. It is important to remember that antibiotics should be taken only on the advice of a qualified doctor. Also you must complete the course prescribed by the doctor. If you take antibiotics when not needed or in wrong doses, it may make the drug less effective when you might need it in future. Also antibiotics taken unnecessarily may kill the beneficial bacteria in the body. Antibiotics, however, are not effective against cold and flu as these are caused by viruses.
How vaccines help
Vaccines contain weakened or inactive parts of a particular organism (antigen) that triggers an immune response within the body. Newer vaccines contain the blueprint for producing antigens rather than the antigen itself. Regardless of whether the vaccine is made up of the antigen itself or the blueprint so that the body will produce the antigen, this weakened version will not cause the disease in the person receiving the vaccine, but it will prompt their immune system to respond much as it would have on its first reaction to the actual pathogen. Some vaccines require multiple doses, given weeks or months apart. This is sometimes needed to allow for the production of long-lived antibodies and development of memory cells. In this way, the body is trained to fight the specific disease-causing organism, building up memory of the pathogen so as to rapidly fight it if and when exposed in the future.
The Herd Immunity Imperative
Vaccines don't just work on an individual level, they protect entire populations. Once enough people are immunized, opportunities for an outbreak of disease become so low even people who aren't immunized benefit. Essentially, a bacteria or virus simply won't have enough eligible hosts to establish a foothold and will eventually die out entirely. This phenomenon is called "herd immunity" or "community immunity," and it has allowed once-devastating diseases to be eliminated entirely, without needing to vaccinate every individual.
Vaccines and your immune system
Vaccines give you immunity to a disease without you getting sick first. They are made using killed or weakened versions of the disease-causing germ or parts of the germ (called antigens). For some vaccines, genetic engineering is used to make the antigens used in the vaccine. It’s much safer to get a vaccine than to get the disease it prevents. When you get a vaccine, your immune system responds to the vaccine the same way it would to the real germ. It: Recognizes the germ in the vaccine as being foreign. Responds by making antibodies to the germ in the vaccine, just as it would for the real germ. Remembers the germ and how to destroy it. That way, if you are ever exposed to the disease-causing germ in the future, your immune system will be able to quickly destroy it before it has a chance to make you sick. This is how you get immunity from vaccines.
In 1929, Alexander
Fleming was working on a culture of disease causing bacteria. Suddenly he found the spores of a little green mould in one of his culture plates. He observed that the presence of mould prevented the growth of bacteria. In fact, it also killed many of these bacteria. From this the mould penicillin was prepared. It is important to remember that antibiotics should be taken only on the advice of a qualified doctor. Also you must complete the course prescribed by the doctor. If you take antibiotics when not needed or in wrong doses, it may make the drug less effective when you might need it in future. Also antibiotics taken unnecessarily may kill the beneficial bacteria in the body. Antibiotics, however, are not effective against cold and flu as these are caused by viruses.
Can you prepare a list of these diseases?
You may take help from your parents. It is essential to protect all children against these diseases. Necessary vaccines are available in the nearby hospitals. You might have seen the advertisement on TV and newspapers regarding protection of children against polio under the Pulse Polio Programme. Polio drops given to children are actually a vaccine. A worldwide campaign against smallpox has finally led to its eradication from most parts of the world. These days vaccines are made on a large scale from microorganisms to protect humans and other animals from several diseases. Bacteria and Yeast are used in making vitamin B complex tablets. The human hormonal called insulin can also be obtained from bacteria. Edward Jenner discovered the vaccine for smallpox in 1798.