If not for Edward Jenner, millions would have lost their lives to several diseases. The discovery of smallpox vaccination in the last leg of the 18th century marked the beginning of a new chapter of vaccination and became a lifesaver for the human race from fatal and limiting diseases like smallpox, polio, tetanus, rotavirus, etc.
World Immunization Day, observed each year on November 10, is celebrated to increase the awareness on getting vaccinations in time to protect individuals against preventable diseases.
Immunization is very important to help create resistance and to prevent your body from getting infected with a number of diseases. Timely administration of vaccine can help protect both children and adults from major diseases.
Why must you get vaccinated? Is it really important?
Yes, getting vaccinated is indeed important. It helps the body stimulate its own immune system to protect against subsequent infections and also prevents them from spreading through any form of contact. Vaccination is more important for children because the immune system of a child developed through breastfeeding starts to diminish, once the development cycle of the new immune system begins.
Vaccinations are highly cost-effective and easy to access. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), timely vaccination has helped prevent up to three million deaths per year, but still, there are almost 19 million infants who are not given timely vaccinations.
Vaccination in India
The Universal Immunization Program (UIP) of India is one of the largest in the world in terms of the amount of vaccine given, the geographical area covered, and the number of people who have benefited from the program. The program has been in effect for more than 30 years. However, due to a lack of awareness among citizens, it has only been able to reach out to two-thirds of children all over the country.
We should seek to achieve complete immunization of not only children but also of adults. Under the Mission Indradhanush, which was launched by the government in 2014, the program allowed all children of up to 24 months of age and pregnant women to get free vaccinations.
Important vaccinations for children
The Indian Academy of Pediatrics recommends several vaccinations to be administered from 0 months to 10 years of age, the important ones being for polio, tetanus, rotavirus, typhoid, chickenpox, and MMR amongst others. It is essential for the parents to follow the immunization schedule and have the baby vaccinated against preventable diseases.
Vaccinations for adults
Vaccination is not just for children, but also for adults. All adults between the age of 20 and 30 should get a screening done for major preventable diseases like influenza, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B. An influenza injection should be administered once a year while a tetanus injection needs to be administered once every 10 years.
Hepatitis A and B injections need to be administered during one's childhood. However, if adults aged above 19 and up to 49 years do not have any documentation of vaccination, it is strongly advised to take two doses of Hepatitis A and three doses of Hepatitis B.
Prevention is better than cure, and the most important gift that you can give your child and to yourself is good health. On this day, let's be aware of the importance of vaccination, and spread the same. Get vaccinated, stay healthy, and happy!
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!