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Immunization & Vaccines:Types & Information

  • Revised/Updated : 2015-03-16
  • Synopsis : Provides general information and updates regarding vaccines and immunization types and schedules for children and adults.

Main Document

Immunization, or immunization, is the process by which an individual's immune system becomes fortified against an agent (known as the immunogen). Immunization shots, or vaccinations, are essential. They protect against things like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). Immunizations are important for adults as well as for children.Immunization:

Immunization, or immunization, is the process by which an individual's immune system becomes fortified against an agent (known as the immunogen). When this system is exposed to molecules that are foreign to the body, called non-self, it will orchestrate an immune response, and it will also develop the ability to quickly respond to a subsequent encounter because of immunological memory. This is a function of the adaptive immune system.

Children need immunizations to protect them from dangerous childhood diseases.

These diseases can have serious complications and even kill children. Children under 5 are especially susceptible to disease because their immune systems have not built up the necessary defenses to fight infection. By immunizing on time (by age 2), you can protect your child from disease and also protect others at school or daycare.

Immunization can be done through various techniques, most commonly vaccination.

Vaccines against microorganisms that cause diseases can prepare the body's immune system, thus helping to fight or prevent an infection. The fact that mutations can cause cancer cells to produce proteins or other molecules that are unknown to the body forms the theoretical basis for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Other molecules can be used for immunization as well, for example in experimental vaccines against nicotine (NicVAX) or the hormone ghrelin (in experiments to create an obesity vaccine).

Passive and active immunization - vaccination is an active form of immunization.

  • Active immunization -Active immunization entails the introduction of a foreign molecule into the body, which causes the body itself to generate immunity against the target. This immunity comes from the T cells and the B cells with their antibodies.
  • Passive immunization -Passive immunization is where pre-synthesized elements of the immune system are transferred to a person so that the body does not need to produce these elements itself. Currently, antibodies can be used for passive immunization. This method of immunization begins to work very quickly, but it is short lasting, because the antibodies are naturally broken down, and if there are no B cells to produce more antibodies, they will disappear.

U.S. Student and Schools Immunization Laws:

All fifty states have legislation requiring specified vaccines for students. Although exemptions vary from state to state, all school immunization laws grant exemptions to children for medical reasons. Almost all states, except Mississippi and West Virginia, grant religious exemptions for people who have religious beliefs against immunizations. Twenty states allow philosophical exemptions for those who object to immunizations because of a personal, moral or other beliefs.

In the U.S. The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) works to increase immunization rates and prevent disease by creating and distributing educational materials for health professionals and the public that enhance the delivery of safe and effective immunization services. IAC also facilitates communication about the safety, efficacy, and use of vaccines within the broad immunization community of patients, parents, healthcare organizations, and government health agencies - www.immunize.org

Serious reactions to vaccines are extremely rare.

The risks of serious disease from not vaccinating are far greater than the risks of serious reaction to a vaccination.

Quick Facts: Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Diseases for which vaccines are available (WHO):

  • Anthrax
  • Cholera
  • Diphtheria
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis E
  • Human papilloma-virus
  • Influenza
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis
  • Pneumoccocal disease
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Rabies
  • Rotavirus gastenteritis
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus
  • Tick-born encephalitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Typhoid fever
  • Varicella and herpes zoster (shingles)
  • Yellow fever

Statistics: Vaccine and Immunization

  • In 2012, the World Health Organization estimated that vaccination prevents 2.5 million deaths each year.
  • Before the introduction of vaccines, the only way people became immune to an infectious disease was by actually getting the disease and surviving it.
  • Immunizations are definitely less risky and an easier way to become immune to a particular disease than risking a milder form of the disease itself.
  • Four diseases are responsible for 98% of vaccine-preventable deaths: measles, Haemophilus influenzae serotype b, pertussis, and neonatal tetanus.
  • A vaccine-preventable disease is an infectious disease for which an effective preventive vaccine exists. If a person acquires a vaccine-preventable disease and dies from it, the death is considered a vaccine-preventable death.

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