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What is vaccination?
Vaccination protects children against serious diseases by stimulating the immune system against disease germs.
How does vaccine immunity differ from natural immunity?
Normally in most diseases the disease-germ enters the body, produces the disease and the body mounts fighting power against the germ and lastly one recovers from the disease. Here immunity against disease is produced after one has suffered from the disease. A vaccine is nothing but whole or part of the disease germ, which has been processed or modified in such a way that it loses its capacity to produce disease but it can still induce fighting power in the body when administered. Hence by vaccination one develops immunity without suffering from the disease.
Myths shattered
Myth: It is better to develop natural immunity than get vaccinated.
Fact: The difference between vaccination and natural infection is the price paid for immunity. The price paid for natural immunity (infection) is the physical, economical and mental agony the entire family goes through after one suffers from a disease. In comparison price paid for vaccination is negligible.

Myth: By relying on vaccines, my child’s immune system becomes weak or does not develop at all.
Fact: No, vaccines do not weaken immune system. As generally thought vaccines are not ready made protection. The body acts on vaccine germs and produces antibodies, which fight against disease germs when the child comes in contact with disease any time in future.

Myth: Vaccines are known to cause serious side effects.
Fact: In most cases, vaccines cause no side effects or only mild reactions such as fever or soreness at the injection site. Very rarely, people experience more serious side effects like allergic reactions. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have health problems or known allergies to medications or food.

Myth: "Vaccines" Yes, But how many?
Fact: As you know prevention is always better than cure. Fortunately, due to progress in vaccine science and technology, it is possible to protect children against several serious diseases through vaccination. Normally a baby is exposed to millions of germs daily. It is much better to protect them against diseases through vaccination than let them be at risk and suffer.

Myth: My child does not require vaccines, as he/she is active and eats well.
Fact: Vaccination is intended to help keep healthy kids healthy, because vaccines work by protecting the body before disease strikes. If you wait until your child gets stick, it will be too late for the vaccine to work. The best time to immunize kids is when they’re healthy.

Myth: Combination vaccines cause more side effects.
Fact: Combination vaccines are as safe and effective as individual vaccines. There are two practical factors in favour of giving a child several vaccines during the same visit. First, to immunize children as early as possible to give them protection during the vulnerable early months of their lives.
Second, giving several vaccines at the same time will mean fewer clinic visits and fewer injections, which saves parents both time and money and may be less traumatic for the child.

Myth: It’s OK to skip certain vaccines
Fact: General, skipping vaccines is not a good is not a good idea. This can leave your child vulnerable to potentially serious disease that could otherwise be avoided. If you have reservations about any particular vaccine, discuss your concerns with your child’s doctor. If your child falls behind the standard vaccinations schedule, catch-up vaccination is also available.

Myth: Vaccines may not be 100% effective; so why vaccinate?
Fact: Vaccines indeed are the most effective weapons we have against diseases. They work in 85% to 99% of cases. Smallpox has been eradicated from the face of earth and a dramatic reduction in the incidence of diseases like Polio, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Measles and Mumps are evidence of power of vaccine future is rare and in such a case the disease is usually mild.

Myth: Vaccines are for babies only. There is no need to vaccinate after 2 to 4 years of age.
Fact: Diseases continue to affect school going children, adolescents and adults. It is always better to keep your child protected. Few vaccines (like DTP) do not provide lifelong protection. Protective efficacy of these vaccines wanes off over a period of time, so regular boosters are required.

There are some new vaccines (like HPV) for adolescent girls to prevent Cervical Cancer. Some vaccines (like Flu) need regular vaccination as the virus keeps changing. For most of the vaccines age is not a barrier. As your doctor if you have missed any vaccine as you can always catch-up.

A friendly reminder for parents:
Adults need vaccination too! Check with your doctor to know what vaccines you might need. Your baby is counting on you!

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