Immunizations and Vaccinations

When the body contracts a virus or disease, the body’s method for combating the disease is by dispatching antibodies, the warrior cells of the immune system, which fight off infections.  The antibodies that are most important for fighting off the infection. If your body has antibodies, then ideally your body is capable of fighting off the illness.

Before the industrial revolution, the only way that a person could have antibodies for a particular virus or infection was if the person had actually contracted the virus. Once the body contracts a virus, it develops antibodies to fight off the disease in case the virus returns, making the body immune to the virus.  However, where deadly or crippling viruses were concerned, there was no method to protect the body from the illness if it was contracted. Only the sick that survived had antibodies for the illness. There needed to be a method to protect the mass-public against the virus in case it was contracted. That method exists in the form of immunizations or vaccinations.

An immunization or vaccination is a weakened form of the virus mixed with a lab-made protein, which is then injected into the body. The body ,in turn, responds to the vaccination and begins to produce antibodies against the virus. Thus, vaccinations are a safer method for becoming immune to a virus.

Types of Immunizations
Immunizations are a matter of public health. In fact, children are not allowed to enter school unless they have been immunized.  Babies are expected to be immunized against certain viruses as well.  Most of the recommended vaccinations are for viruses such as polio or meningitis were at one time were very deadly, contagious, and a threat to public health. If a virus spreads through the community unchecked, it could cause an epidemic.  Because of this, there are immunizations for all kinds of viruses, for example: measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

The recommended immunizations for children under six years of age are:

Parents are expected to follow immunizations schedules to ensure that their child has been immunized for the proper virus at the appropriate time.  This ensures that the remainder of the population is protected, and limits the spread of the virus.  Nevertheless, because vaccinations generally only last for periods of about 10 years, it is often necessary to be re-immunized every 10 years.

The immunization schedule for pre-teens and teens includes:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis
  • HPV
  • Influenza
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella

Adults, those 19 years and older should also be immunized, even after receiving previous vaccinations. Again, vaccinations only last for certain time periods, and new vaccinations are needed for continued immunity.  The adult schedule includes booster vaccinations for tetanus, HPV, and measles, mumps, rubella (MMR).

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