After satisfying yourself that your child is being fed well and you have lined up all the
right things for him to eat, its time you thought of protecting him from common
This process of protecting the child is called Immunisation
that begins as early as one month of age.
Immune (latin) for protection.
Immunity in lay language means resistance, ability to fight or protection against.
You will be surprised at the swiftness by which our body identifies a
foreign or harmful substance and prepares for a war. Our body has its own armed forces
(Immune System) in readiness to identify and attack any and all insurgents. Lets
take a look at the defence forces of our body.
Lets take an invader X that is trying to enter the
human body and cause disease. The ammunition of X is called the ANTIGEN. Our
defence mechanism identifies this ANTIGEN and starts preparing its own specific answer to
this ANTIGEN. The weapon to fight this ANTIGEN is called the ANTIBODY. We all know that it
takes time to prepare something this important, hence it is our duty to keep commonly
required weapons in readiness. Similarly our body also needs specific ANTIBODIES in
readiness to fight ANTIGENS from commonly occurring ailments.
The Immune system (defence mechanism) is backed by a sub-mechanism
known as the "Immunological memory" that recognises a foreign substance if it
attacks again. The body then produces the same ANTIBODIES, which it had produced at the
time of first invasion. Second time round these ANTIBODIES are produced more rapidly and
in higher quantities.
Now we know well enough that if we have to protect our children from
commonly occurring diseases they must have a defence mechanism in readiness with either
ready ANTIBODIES or with good IMMUNOLOGICAL memory so that a attack could be launched
How do we achieve this?
By Vaccination! Of Course!
What is Vaccination?
Every child is to be exposed to the germs responsible for common childhood problems. Vaccination
is deliberate introduction of the causative organism, in a healthy child, to incite an
A child may achieve Immunity in the following ways:
- From the mother, while still in the womb (passive immunity)
- By getting a disease and body producing natural antibodies (active immunity)
- By vaccines (active immunity)
- In emergency situations, where there is no time for the body to produce antibodies, by
direct introduction of antibodies. (passive immunity)
With so many different ways of acquiring Immunity, our focus is on Vaccination. Most of
the childhood disorders leading to prolonged sickness, disability and death in many
circumstances are easily preventable with vaccines being readily available.