Tuesday, December 1

Concept of vaccination

As a paediatrician I get lot of queries regarding vaccination....here is an attempt to address a few of them
  • Why should I vaccinate my child?
  • I have grown old without getting any of these fancy vaccine shots
  • All these different schedules are so confusing.
  • Whatever is required for my child is there in the government vaccination schedule the rest of the vaccines are, a private practitioner’s money-making agenda.
  • I have missed a few of the vaccination shots for my child, can it be completed now? will we have to start from all over again?

Vaccination awareness

Despite the increasing awareness about the vaccination among the general public, despite the fast expanding schedule of the government programs to include the newer vaccines in their armamentarium, the understanding about the logic and basic concepts of vaccination even in the affluent classes of our country remain sub-optimal

The idea behind vaccination

Let us, for the sake of understanding compare the antibodies present inside our bodies to the armed forces meant to defend our country. It is the duty of these antibodies to maintain law and order of our body’s bio-environment.

 

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What happens when there is a terrorist attack on us, a number of different agencies and armed forces like BSF, paramilitary troops and agencies like NIA are mobilised in that particular area and steps are taken to not only neutralise these terrorist but also to analyse the situation and improve upon our defences to prevent any further attack.

Similarly when a microbe enters our body immune cells across different cell lines be it T-cells or B- cells or a number of other immunological cells are mobilised so as to counter this terrorist or the infectious agent.

 

How effectively our body accomplishes this counter- terror mechanism depends upon two factors.

  1. Do we know this terrorist or the infecting agent? or in other words can we recognise this infecting agent as a threat to our body?
  2. Is our immune system prepared to deal with them and counter their menace?

Can we recognise these pathogens as threat?

If there was to be a way by which the general public can identify these terrorist invading our land they would certainly be in a better position to notify the concerned authorities to take preventive measures. And this process of identification will be a lot easier if there was to be a prior interaction with these culprits. So if these terrorists had already invaded us once or twice in the past we would easily be able to recognise them.

Compare this situation with respect to the infecting agent and our immune system…. it will be lot more easier for us to fight a disease if we have been exposed to these pathogen earlier as well.

But every time a disease occurs it has the potential to cause significant damage. Can we afford this damage? Is there a way which we can have our identification with the pathogen without letting them cause any damage?

Preparing our army against the invaders.

If these terrorist can be paraded in our country after treating them in such a way that they become harmless but our system can read them as bad guys…. a suitable defence can be prepared.

Vaccines are like captured and handcuffed terrorist whose arms and ammunition have been seized.

Vaccines are suitably treated or attenuated organism, part of an organism or even killed organism who are deliberately introduced in our body to bring out this desired effect of preparing our immune system against the invasion of deadly pathogens.

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

 Out of thousands of diseases, it is only against a few diseases that researchers, after of work, have been able to develop a preventive strategy i.e. vaccines to help your child fight with them.

Do you not want to pass this benefit to your child?

Yes, Vaccines are prepared afters many years of research, a very stringent process of preparation , clinical trials and licensing by the competent government authorities before they are allowed for public vaccination 

Vaccination schedules are  updated from time to time as per the recommended by the Indian academy of paediatrics. Follow your paediatricians advice. 

Yes, barring a few most of the vaccines can be given if missed earlier with minor adjustments by the advice of your child’s paediatrician. 

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