Immunity is the natural process of a living body to protect itself from diseases. We, humans are susceptible to various diseases caused by harmful germs or bacteria (called antigens) entered into our body through many inlets such as drinking, eating, breathing, touching, etc.
When an antigen attacks us and makes us fall ill, our immune system puts up resistance or produces antibodies to fight that disease. The first time a child is infected with a particular antigen say measles virus, its immunity system fights that virus by producing antibodies.
Since it’s the first time and the immune system was unprepared the antigens may make the child sick before the sufficient antibody is produced. However the immune system remembers that antigen and whenever in future the same virus attacks the immune system produces the specific antibody promptly and use it in defense.
But does that mean one should suffer from a disease once to prevent it in future? Certainly not! Man has developed vaccines as an alternative to natural immunity. There are some vaccines which are administered in a child’s body very early in the babyhood to protect the child from those deadly diseases anytime in the life.
Vaccines for different diseases are developed using the specific antigens, weakened and of a low quantity, which can’t cause the child sick but help the immune system recognize the antigen and produce the antibody. Thus a child gets immunity from the disease for the lifetime without having to get sick first.
Childhood vaccination is considered the most effective public health strategy to prevent and control childhood morbidity and mortality. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issues annual recommendations and guidelines for childhood and adolescent immunizations.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, & Pertussis (DTaP and Tdap)
Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Inactivated Polio (IPV)
Measles, Mumps, & Rubella (MMR)
Meningococcal Conjugated (MCV4)
Pneumococcal Conjugated (PCV)
Pneumococcal Polysaccharide (PPV)
Serogroup B Meningococcal (MenB)
Vaccination is a scientific and safe method to prevent diseases. It can be applied even at the adult age but more commonly applied in the childhood or adolescent stage. It not saves an individual but prevents spreading of the disease though infection.