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Vaccines: The Most Effective Method of Preventing Disease

Many centuries ago, infectious diseases such as measles, diphtheria, smallpox, and pertussis topped the list of childhood killers and many families lost their young ones to these illnesses. Then, during the 1970s, a gentleman named Edward Jenner was said to have created the vaccine against smallpox.

Evolvements in the field of medicine coupled by the advancements of modern health care has managed to eradicate many of these devastating diseases, especially in industrialized nations where safe, affordable vaccines against many dangerous diseases are widely distributed and administered.Many centuries ago, infectious diseases such as measles, diphtheria, smallpox, and pertussis topped the list of childhood killers and many families lost their young ones to these illnesses.

Then, during the 1970s, a gentleman named Edward Jenner was said to have created the vaccine against smallpox. Evolvements in the field of medicine coupled by the advancements of modern health care has managed to eradicate many of these devastating diseases, especially in industrialized nations where safe, affordable vaccines against many dangerous diseases are widely distributed and administered.

While some illnesses may be prevented by means of optimal nutrition, there are some, however, that can and will strike even the healthiest of bodies. Diseases such as pertussis, mumps and measles, to name a few, do not discriminate between a healthy body or a weak one. The only means of prevention for these diseases are by immunizations via vaccines.

What is a vaccine and what does it do?

Made up of killed or modified microbes, parts of microbes, or microbial DNA, a vaccine is said to ‘trick’ one’s body into believing that an infection is taking place. The body’s immune system then attacks the harmless vaccine and prepares for future invasions.

Vaccines help the body’s immune system prepare for possible future diseases. In this way, the person becomes immunized against the microbe. This means that if re-exposure to the infectious microbe occurs, the immunised person’s body will recognise the microbe and take action to fight it.

Safeguarding precious lives

Vaccinations are the best defence we have against serious, preventable, and sometimes deadly contagious diseases. Vaccines undergo careful review by scientists, doctors and the federal government and hence are found to be safe and effective.

Vaccinations protect children from serious illness and complications which can include:

  • amputation of an arm or leg
  • paralysis of limbs
  • hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and death

The impact of one unvaccinated child

A single unvaccinated child can spread a disease to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or to people with weakened immune systems, such as transplant recipients and people with cancer. This could result in long-term complications and even death for these vulnerable people. Vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps and even whooping coughs can be a threat and may strike with a vengeance at any time. Vaccinating a child against preventable diseases may help protect other family members too including the elderly.

The difference between vaccines, vaccinations and immunizations

Vaccine:

A product consisting of a killed or weakened organism that produces immunity from a disease

Vaccination:

The injection or administration of a vaccine into the body to produce an immunity in the body against a disease.

Immunization:

Vaccines provide immunization, and there are also some diseases that cause immunization after an individual recovers from the disease.

Protect your child via the National Immunisation Programme

The National Immunisation Programme in Malaysia advocates routine childhood immunisations for multiple infectious diseases. Vaccines against certain diseases are provided free by the government, so why not take advantage of this provision? You can have your child immunized at any Government clinic in your neighborhood.

Optional vaccines Protect your child’s wellbeing

The Ministry of Health provide free vaccinations for many dangerous diseases. However, there are some vaccines that are not under our NIP. Parents are highly encouraged to pay due attention to these optional vaccines which will also be offered by their children’s doctors and seriously consider these vaccines.

Some of them include; vaccination for chicken pox, Hepatitis A, Influenza, typhoid fever, meningococcal and pneumococcal.

Additional vaccinations that are given to children can prevent epidemic and the spread of other diseases. However, these additional vaccinations are not free of charge. Instead, parents have to invest a little bit of money to ensure the health and safety of their children.

List of Optional Vaccines:

  • Pneumococcal – 2 months up
  • Influenza – 6 months up
  • Rotavirus – 6 weeks to 6 months
  • Hepatitis A – 10 months up
  • Chicken pox – 12 months up

The optional vaccines above can be obtained at private clinics or at any hospital of your choice. Calamity strikes without warning and many parents have found out the hard way that they should have paid more attention to the optional vaccines that were advocated by doctors. These vaccines are equally important as the ones provided free by the Ministry Of Health and may protect your children and family against avoidable suffering and the risk of serious health complications, so if your child has not had any of the above, talk to your doctor today!

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