Children are the world’s most valuable resources and its best hope for the future, this fact cannot be over emphasized. Therefore, the health and well-being of children all over the world must be of utmost priority at every stage of their developmental growth.

Immunization or vaccination is one of the primary and most important way of ensuring the proper growth and development of these children, thereby preventing them from vaccine preventable diseases that could hamper their future.

Nevertheless, vaccination is for everyone as it does not just prevents but saves lives.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Immunization is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine (a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a disease). Vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease.

Immunization is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year. It is one of the most cost-effective health investments, with proven strategies that make it accessible to even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations. It has clearly defined target groups; it can be delivered effectively through outreach activities; and vaccination does not require any major lifestyle change.

When you get an immunization, you are injected with a weakened form of (or a fragment of) a disease causing agent. This triggers your body’s immune response, causing it to either produce antibodies to that disease or induce other processes that enhance immunity.

Then, if you’re ever again exposed to the actual disease-causing organism, your immune system is prepared to fight the infection. A vaccine will usually prevent the onset of a disease or else reduce its severity.

Why Should Someone Get Immunized?

The goal of public health is to prevent disease. It’s much easier and more cost-effective to prevent a disease than to treat it. That’s exactly what immunizations aim to do.

Immunizations protect us from serious diseases and it prevents the spread of those diseases to others. Over the years immunizations have thwarted epidemics of once common infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough, diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae serotype B infection, hepatitis B, meningitis, pertussis, poliomyelitis, typhoid fever, rabies, yellow fever etc.

And because of immunizations we have seen the near eradication of others, such as polio and smallpox.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD SOMEONE GET IMMUNIZED?

Some vaccines need to be given only once; others require updates or “boosters” to maintain successful immunization and continued protection against disease.

IMMUNIZATION IN CHILDREN

These days, proof of immunization is often a prerequisite for enrolment in school or day care, it is important to keep your children up to date on their vaccines. The benefit of doing so is that your children will be protected from diseases that could cause them serious health problems.

At one time or another, each of the diseases addressed by these vaccines posed a serious health threat to children, taking their lives by the thousands; today most of these diseases are at their lowest levels in decades, thanks to immunizations.

It is important to keep your child’s immunizations on schedule and up to date, but if your child misses a scheduled dose, he or she can “catch up” later.

Importance of Immunization

  • Averts potential disease outbreaks and deaths
  • Provides long-term and sometime lifelong protection against diseases.
  • Provides herd/community immunity i.e. the protection offered to everyone in a community by high vaccination rates.
  • It saves individuals and families time and money – The cost of a vaccine, often less than US $1, is much lower than the cost of treating a sick child or fighting a disease outbreak. Each US $1 invested in childhood vaccination produces a return on investment of US $44 in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Protects children against various diseases.
  • It is safe and effective
  • Protects future generation from present-day vaccine-preventable diseases.

What are the symptoms of Vaccination in Children?

  • Local reactions: Swelling, redness and pain at shot sites. Symptoms start within 24 hours of vaccination and may last 3-7 days.
  • Anaphylaxis: Severe allergic reactions are very rare but can occur with any vaccine. They start within 2 hours.
  • Fever: Begins within 24 hours and lasts 1-2 days. It is referred to as a temperature above the normal range of 36.6°C-37.2°C (for babies and children).

How Do you Treat fever at home?

  • Make sure your child gets some rest
  • Dress him/her in light clothing so he/she is comfortable
  • Give your him/her a lot of fluids
  • Give your him/her AVIPOL to help reduce the fever and deal with discomfort associated with the fever
  • AVIPOL is Fidson’s brand of Paracetamol suspension that is well-flavoured and excellently safe for fever in children.