Basic Science

Immunization explained

Alfred Ajibola - Sun, 24th March, 2019 @ 14:42: PM

What is Immunization?

If you take a look at the upper part of your left arm, you may likely see a tiny depressed spot. This is a sign that you are immunized. Before I define immunization, I think it's best we understand it's concept. When a child is born, he or she must live in an environment. The air, water and land that makes up this environment contains billions of pathogens or germs (pathogens are disease causing organisms). If by chance, this baby is yet to be immunized, certain molecules or pathogen or germs may find their way into the baby's system. Because all of these molecules are foreign to the baby's body system, they are termed foreign bodies or non-self. The baby's immune system will react very slowly when attempting to fight back because it has no memory of these foreign bodies. This is not too good for the baby as his or her health will become negatively impacted. The good news is "Immunization can prevent this from happening".

Immunization or Vaccination is the process of introducing weakened or dead forms of disease causing organisms (pathogens or germs) into a person in order to prevent such person from the diseases they cause. These weakened or dead form of disease causing organism is termed vaccine. Most vaccines are given by injection (via a needle), while others may be given orally (via the mouth) or nasally (via the nose).

Note: Immunization is also called vaccination, shotsjabs or needles


How Immunization Work

Because vaccines contain the exact same pathogens or germs that cause diseases (but in a weakened or dead form), it become harmless and do not make the child sick. The importance of vaccine is that it triggers the production of antibodies that will fight and kill the germs. These antibodies keep the memory of how to rapidly kill such germs when they enter the body again. Let's imagine that after vaccination, the real germ (capable of causing disease) enters the child's body. The child will be on the safer side now because:

  • Antibodies required to fight and kill these germs are already present in the child's system.

  • These antibodies can now easily kill the germs because the have a memory of previously killing the exact germ.


Importance of Immunization

Both children and adults need immunization. We already know that it is much more easier, better and cheaper to prevent a disease that to cure it. This is exactly what immunization does. It develops the immune system and makes us resistant or immune to certain infectious diseases such as:

  • Measles

  • Pertussis (whopping cough)

  • Mumps

  • Rubella

  • Polio

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

  • Chicken pox

  • Smallpox

  • Diphtheria

  • Tetanus

  • Rotavirus

  • Yellow Fever

  • Tuberculosis

  • Hepatitis B

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