Today is World Immunization Day and let’s thank medical advancements and scientific research for vaccines, the lifesaving agents against many diseases.
Scientifically speaking, vaccines are primarily antigenic substances prepared from the causative agent of a disease or a synthetic substitute that is used in providing immunity against one or several diseases.
Vaccines in India are more than 100 years old and belong to the pre-independent era. British rulers, hugely concerned by the deaths of their personnel due to tropical diseases encouraged research on various diseases and brought in at least 15 vaccine institutes in India by 1890s.
The first vaccine was against plague in 1897, which was developed by Sir Waldemar Haffkine at Plague Laboratory Mumbai. Soon came vaccine against cholera developed in Kolkata.
Thanks to research and technological innovations by the Indian scientists over the last century, various vaccines have been successfully fighting major epidemics and saving scores of lives.
Relentless efforts in implementing Polio immunization program for more than a decade has made India a polio-free nation.
And if you thought, vaccines are only required by children you are wrong. Doctors recommend a variety of vaccines for different age groups based on the outbreak of epidemics, chances of acquiring chronic conditions, family history, season and weather changes etc.
These are the basic vaccines recommended for different age groups.
Children Below 12:
Vaccinations for children are compulsory soon after birth. Your child would require one or multiple doses of BCG, Hepatitis B, poliovirus, DTP, Hib, Pneumococcal virus, Rotavirus, typhoid, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), Varicella, Hepatitis A, Tdap, HPV.
The above vaccines will safeguard children from pneumonia, polio, hepatitis, diphtheria, influenza, chickenpox and other infections.
Adults also require various vaccines including Swine flu, typhoid, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, pneumococcal, meningococcal meningitis, rabies and tetanus.
Young women and men should also take Human Papillomavirus vaccine. It safeguards women from cervical, vagina and vulva cancers in the women and cancers of the penis in men.
Adults Above 60:
Immunization for the elderly in one of the effective methods to prevent diseases, disability and fatalities caused due to infectious diseases. Older adults should get vaccines like Tdap, Td booster for every 10 years, varicella vaccine to avoid chickenpox, shingles, besides pneumococcal, meningococcal and all those recommended by the doctor.
Besides these regular vaccines, individuals of all age groups should take yearly shots for fighting swine flu, influenza and different types of flu viruses.
Talk to your doctor today, to know more about immunization and how it can help you prevent several deadly diseases.