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Biology > Human Health and Diseases > Vaccines and Immunization
Human Health and Diseases

Vaccines and Immunization

Have you seen the Polio vaccine advertisements on TV? So what are these vaccines and what do they do? Vaccines help protect us from certain diseases. In fact, India was declared a polio-free country on 27th March 2014! Vaccines and Immunization are a big part of our health and well being. Let us get started.

So, now we come to the question of whether vaccination and immunization are one and the same. Of course not! But, they are very closely related. Let us see the definitions of these two terms.

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Vaccination

Vaccination means getting a dose of a vaccine against a particular disease. The vaccine could be in the form of an injection or even administered orally.

Vaccines and immunization are very important in protecting people from various diseases. Many important infectious diseases can be prevented with the help of immunization.The Immunization process works on the property that once vaccinated against a disease, the immune system of the body has a memory of the same.

Immunization

Immunization is a term that refers to the process of getting vaccinated. It helps in the prevention of diseases as the body gets immune to the disease after getting vaccinated. To eradicate a disease completely, the whole population of the place has to be immunized.

Smallpox disease is an example where through a proper immunization plan, the disease could be eradicated. Polio is another disease where intense immunization program is being implemented by the government to remove this disease from the population.

Vaccines

(Source: Wikipedia)

What are Vaccines?

Vaccines are substances that are antigenic, which are prepared from the agent causing the disease or any synthetic substitute. Vaccines provide immunity against many diseases. In vaccination, a virus or bacteria is deliberately administered to the person so that immune system of the body can fight any future infection.

A point to be noted is that through vaccines only a tiny amount of the weakened/inactivated virus or bacteria enters the body. This tiny amount of the weakened virus or bacteria makes the immune system of the body to recognize this organism, without the person actually experiencing any disease. Sometimes, vaccines have to be given more than once, in the form of a booster dose to ensure that the immune system can really overcome any real infection.

All vaccines are also monitored for their safety. However, most of the vaccines have some side effects that are minor and generally go away in a few days. These may include fever, redness, swelling, and tenderness at the site of injection, nausea, tiredness, and headache. Sometimes, muscle or joint pain or diarrhoea can be experienced but is less frequent.

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Here is a list of vaccine-preventable diseases. These diseases include – Chickenpox, Polio, Measles, Diphtheria, HIB, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, HPV, Influenza, Mumps, Pertussis, Rotavirus, Meningococcal, Rubella, Tetanus, and Typhoid.

Solved Questions For You

Q: Write a few lines on smallpox.

Ans. Smallpox is a disease that has been eradicated successfully. It was caused by the virus variants Variola major and Variola minor. This virus was very contagious and disfigured the person who was infected by it. It was sometimes fatal too. Smallpox is probably the first disease for which a vaccine was produced. It was invented in 1796 by the British physician Edward Jenner.

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