What is immunization?
Years of research and understanding has yielded several preventive steps to protect babies from diseases that may challenge your babies’ well being. WHO (World Health Organization) defines immunization as the process where a newborn’s immunity is supported by the administration of vaccines to resist diseases.
Vaccines create immunity. Vaccines stimulate the body’s inherent immune system to protect it against a subsequent infection or disease. Whenever any antigen (a substance or chemical or organism that causes a particular disease) enters the body, the immune system produces antibodies to fight against the antigens and prevent the disease.
Innate and adaptive immunity. Immunity can either be innate or adaptive. Innate immunity is the natural, in-born resistance power of a baby against a disease. Adaptive immunity on the other hand is the situation where antibodies are introduced in the body either naturally e.g. through consumption of colostrums (first milk) i.e. by contact with a disease causing agent, or artificially, i.e. by deliberate actions like immunization.
Nutrient intake increases immunity.
To a large extent the power of immunity depends upon the nutrient intake. There are many nutrients that help in boosting the body’s immunity. They do so by helping in the synthesis and maintenance of immunoglobulins that form important parts of the body’s defense mechanism. Such nutrients are called imuno-nutrients. Examples of imuno-nutrients are Vitamin A, E, C, zinc etc.
Artificially acquired or adaptive immunity.
This immunity can be of two types, passive and active. In passive acquired immunity, antibodies are introduced in the body from an immune host. For instance, it can happen through breastfeeding. In case of active acquired immunity, it is induced in the host itself by antigen. This type of immunity lasts much longer, sometimes even life-long.
Artificial or acquired immunity is powerful. Immunization is most active in artificial or acquired immunity. In this type of immunization, the vaccine against a disease contains active antigens which trigger the immune system to produce the corresponding antibodies. These antibodies, once produced, create a memory in the B cells and T cells of the immune system. In future, whenever the corresponding antigen strikes the body, these activities produce antibodies.
In immunization, vaccines for various diseases are given periodically to a baby. This process of vaccination can also be repeated depending upon their action time. Depending upon the prevalence of different diseases and the infant mortality rates, different countries have come up with different immunization or vaccination plans.
Immunization in India. In the Indian condition, the process of immunization can continue from birth till the age of 15. The Indian Academy of Paediatrics recommends a calendar of vaccinations that can be administered at various stages of your growing baby.
Refer Immunization Tracker at the bottom pink band across the website.
Vaccination and immunization help in protection against general diseases, infections and even against potentially life threatening diseases. Consult the doctor, create an immunization schedule for your baby and follow it.