According to the World Health Organization, immunization is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine.
Vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect you against subsequent infection or disease.
What diseases can immunization protect against?
Immunization protects against a large number of diseases considered dangerous. These include:
- Whooping cough
- German measles (rubella)
- Meningococcal C
- Pneumococcal disease
- Chickenpox (varicella)
- Yellow fever
Importance of immunization
1. It saves lives
Being immunized helps protect you against potentially fatal illnesses.
2. It is safe and effective
While vaccines can cause slight discomfort and swelling, immunisation is the safest way to protect against harmful disease. Any discomfort is far less traumatic than any of the diseases immunisation protects against.
3. Protects you and your loved ones
When you immunize your child you are protecting them against illness and serious effects such as paralysis, deafness, seizures, brain damage or even death.
By helping reduce the spread of disease, you lower the risk of contact for those too young to be immunized.
Young children and people who are living with immunodeficiency disorders are the most vulnerable, so prevention is key in keeping them safe.
4. Removes financial and care burden
Some vaccine-preventable diseases like polio can result in permanent disabilities which may lead to lifelong dependency. This may also put financial pressure on families as the affected person may require specialized assistive devices or incur hospital bills through constant hospitalization.
5. Eradication of diseases
Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago.
Immunization gives future generations the chance to live disease free, as is the case with small pox that was successfully eradicated in the world.
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