Things to know about Vaccines

1.Understand Vaccine

Vaccine is a  preventive medicine. It is a preparation that contains the same germs that cause disease. (For example, mumps  vaccine contains the mumps virus) but in a weakened or a harmless form so  that they don't make you sick. A vaccine teaches  your immune system to identify the germ and produce antibodies against it.  After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without getting the disease first.

 2.Vaccine is our best strategy of defence

There are many dangerous diseases which can cause serious complications and can even death. Immunizations are our best protection against these diseases. In earlier times, many diseases used to rage like wildfire and infect or take the lives of hundreds. Vaccines have changed this and eliminated or reduced the incidence of such infectious diseases like measles, mumps etc. However, if vaccinations are discontinued, these diseases can raise their heads again.

Vaccination is vital because it not only protects you, but also helps to check the spread of diseases to others in the community and protects future generations.

3.Safety of vaccines

Before being approved for use, every vaccine goes through years of careful testing to make sure it is safe and effective. Learned scientists and doctors all over the world study them in detail and  evaluate their efficacy and safety. Years of validated research have established the benefits of vaccines.

4.Benefits outweigh the side-effects

Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. In most cases, side effects are mild (e.g., soreness, redness, low grade fever) and they go away within a few days. Severe, long-lasting side effects from vaccines are rare.  Bearing these is much better than suffering the symptoms and the complications of a serious disease that can drain energy and cause missed days of school, work or fun.

5.Are vaccines only for kids?

No… adults too need the protection of immunization to prevent the risks of certain serious illnesses. The vaccines you need as an adult depend on many factors including age, your health status, your travel plans, and your vaccination history.

Sometimes, adults may need a booster dose even if they have been vaccinated as children.  Adults with chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, and diabetes are more likely to get complications from certain diseases. Vaccination is a strategy to prevent illness and avoid problems like absenteeism from work and medical bills. Vaccination is vital if you are planning to travel as the diseases that are rare in your country may be rampant in the place that you are planning to visit.

6.We cannot stop vaccinations

The chances getting diseases like polio or pertussis are low today because decades of immunization have brought their numbers down. However, if we stopped vaccinations, these diseases may stage a comeback and our children or grandchildren could fall prey to diseases which we thought we had conquered long back.  Vaccinations don’t just protect you or your child alone, they are meant to protect the whole society and immunization is not just for the present it is for the future too.

7.Everyone needs vaccines

Everyone needs vaccines…different ones at different stages in life…ask your doctor about them.

  • Infants and children
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults whose vaccination schedule is not up to date or who have medical conditions like diabetes or asthma
  • Teenagers
  • Elders
  • People who are traveling
  • Pet owners or people who work with animals

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