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Childhood Immunizations and Vaccinations - Research Paper Example

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Childhood Vaccination: Advantages and Disadvantages Introduction Vaccination, also called as immunization, is a method in which specific protection is provided against common and dangerous pathogenic organisms by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies or T cells against the pathogenic organisms or the toxins of the organism, so that infection due to the organism does not manifest as a disease (Ghaffar and Haqqi, Microbiology and Immunology On-line)…
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Childhood Immunizations and Vaccinations
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Childhood Immunizations and Vaccinations

Download file to see previous pages... From then on, several vaccines have been developed which have helped in the control of several infectious diseases. During vaccination, an antigenic material is introduced into the body that evokes immune response to the host similar to the one that occurs when the infectious agent enters the body. Thus, when the individual is presented with the concerned pathogen, the already present immune response prevents the pathogen from either entering the body or evoking a disease process of both (Shah, Nitin and Kukrej, 2007). The antigens introduced for vaccination purpose either resemble the pathogen against which the immune response is expected, or are non-viable or attenuated forms of the pathogen. Since the time of introduction of vaccines, several diseases have been able to be controlled. Small pox could be eradicated mainly because of vaccination. However, vaccination is still a debated topic in several corners, eliciting medical, religious, political and ethical implications. Vaccination is associated with several disadvantages too because of which, many researchers often wonder if vaccination is necessary for mankind. In this essay, the advantages and disadvantages of vaccination will be discussed through review of suitable literature. Benefits of vaccination Vaccines mainly act by eliciting immunity against a particular disease. There are basically 2 types of immunity and they are innate and acquired. While the former develops after actual exposure to the disease, acquired develops following exposure to vaccination and this may be passive or active. Passive immunity occurs when the antibodies against a particular organism are directly injected into the body. Active immunity develops when antibodies are produced by the individual itself after providing an antigenic stimulus. While passive immunity offers short-term protection, active immunity renders long term protection. Examples of passive immunity are administration of anti-rabies serum following exposure to rabies. The vaccinations given in the immunisation schedules are examples of active immunity. Depending on the which type of T-lymphocyte series which are stimulated, the immune response can be humoral, cell mediated or both. Each vaccine is given at a distinct time, dose and schedule. The timing of any vaccine is based on susceptibility to the disease, presence of maternal antibodies and reactogenecity. Thus oral polio vaccine, hepatitis B and BCG vaccines are given at birth, because of lack of maternal immunity to diseases protected by the vaccines, tuberculosis, Hepatitis B infection and Polio. Diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus are given in early childhood in order to provide maximum reactogenecity and effective protection against these diseases (Shah, p.14). The advantages of childhood vaccinations are innumerous and it is because of these advantages that most countries in the world have adopted vaccination as a main strategy to prevent childhood diseases in their public health policies. There is no doubt that vaccination is the best strategy to prevent certain types of infectious diseases in newborns, infants, children and even adults who are vulnerable to some diseases. In some cases, despite vaccination, disease due to the pathogen may manifest. In these cases, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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