Vaccination generally known as ‘teekay’ and also known as immunization are basically minuscule amount of weakened or killed bacteria that are introduced in the body to activate your immune system against the organism antigens. Your body produces antibodies against the disease causing antigen which prepares your body to fight off the actual disease causing organism.
Once your body has developed antibodies against the weakened organism (which does not cause the disease), in case of your contact to the bacteria, your body already has antibodies to fight it off. This is known as immune memory.
Immunization basically aims to prevent contagious disease threatening to cause or already causing an epidemic. Since prevention is better than cure and cost effective, vaccines for several diseases have been produced to support the health care system.
Disease causing major epidemic such as mumps, measles, small pox and polio have almost been eradicated by development of the vaccine for each disease.
There has been established a proper vaccination schedule for pediatrics as well as adults. While some vaccines are long lasting, others need updates or boosters.
To further support the public health sector schools and colleges now require proof of immunization for admission. They take blood tests to figure out the antigens in your body and require you to get vaccines that your child or you are missing.
You need to stay up to date with all your vaccines as these measures are taken to keep your child safe from fatal disease and also prevent their spread.Vaccines that every child from years 0-6 should have are:
• Hepatitis B
• Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis
• Haemophilus influenzae type B
• Measles, mumps, rubella
• Varicella (chickenpox)
• Hepatitis A
• Meningococcal (for certain high-risk groups)
The disease mentioned above have caused epidemic in the past taking lives of thousands of children worldwide have now been controlled to a large extent in many parts of the world. These diseases can cause severe disability: loss of ability to walk, hear, speak, brain function, infertility, death and even worse another epidemic.
Pakistan has an expanded program on immunization which was introduced in 1978 and has been continuing since; it includes all the disease mentioned about for pediatrics.
Unfortunately Pakistan is one of the three countries in the world still reporting polio cases. This can affect Pakistan in various adverse ways. It is adding load to our already crumbling public health sector. It can lead to cancellation of foreign passports and visas in the long run and severely affect Pakistan’s economy.
Recently there was also a swine flu case reported. Pakistan is in no way equipped to handle an epidemic. Unfortunately the spread of disease is too easy in Pakistan too. However FDA came up with its vaccination and Pakistan needs to reinforce the vaccination program along with the polio drive going on currently.
Increasing number of population leads to overcrowding, increasing number of slums is a breeding ground for disease causing organisms, improper sanitization and on top of all the unwilling behavior of rural Pakistanis to get vaccine shots. Vaccine shots are believed to be evil and believed to take one away from their religion. There are numerous other rumors like these which lead to attacks on the polio drive volunteers and discontinuation of the program.
Immunization does not end with childhood. Adults need vaccination boosters for the vaccination they got as neonates and infants. They might also need any newly developed vaccines for certain disease. The schedule can be viewed in detail from the CDC website.
Apart from the disease mentioned above there are also vaccination available for shingles and seasonal flues that are required by adults to take.
As a neonate is born the EPI schedule is given to the mother by the pediatrician for babies’ vaccination. It is extremely important for every parent to stay up to date with all the vaccination and follow the schedule closely. In case of missing a vaccine, you can visit your pediatrician and they can reschedule for your baby to catch up.