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These concepts and information are aimed at creating awareness amongst society. Great care has been taken to formulate the information so that while key concepts are conveyed accurately, yet medical terminology and jargon is avoided so that a common person can comprehend it. Although whole content has been created by medical professionals, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR FOR INDIVIDUAL SPECIFICS and TREATEMENT PLANS.
  • Most effective way to eradicate infectious diseases is to pay as much attention to PREVENTIVE HEALTH CARE MEASURES as to IMMUNIZATION PRACTICES. Both these approaches have also proven to be more cost effective, both at an individual as well as societal level. It is estimated that between 20-35% of all deaths of children under the age of 5 years are from diseases preventable through vaccination.
  • Availability of “relevant” information in this age of information overload is the key issue in successful implementation of the above, in both developing as well as developed nations. This website aims to provide “relevant” and “organized” information relating to immunization, in the Indian context.
  • The terms vaccination and immunization are often used interchangeably. Strictly speaking, the former denotes the process of administering an immunizing agent (antigen), while immunization includes the biological response to the induction of that immunizing agent which provides immunity.
  • Immunization can be active or passive. Active immunization refers to inducing immunity by administrating antigen, while passive immunization involves direct introduction of antibodies.
  • Also use of both active and passive immunization together my produce complementary effect (e.g. as with Hepatitis B immunoglobulin and Hepatitis B vaccine) or may actually interfere with development of immunity (e.g. as when measles vaccine is administered within six weeks of measles immunoglobulin administration).
  • It is common misunderstanding that immunization is relevant only for children; it is equally important at all stages of human life. Further the immunization schedule varies not just by age, but is influenced by factors such as the individual’s health history, immunization history, immunity response, prevalence of diseases in areas of residence, financial status etc. This also implies that immunization evolves with passage of time and is a “dynamic” process.
  • In elderly, vaccine responses may be diminished because of natural waning of immune system. Hence larger amounts of an antigen maybe required to produce the desired response.
  • Different vaccines should not be mixed in same syringe unless specifically recommended.
  • Multiple vaccines can be given at different sites in a single visit; it is not necessary that multiple visits be made for different vaccinations unless required by schedule.
  • Vaccines must be administered in the proper body location to ensure safety and proper immune response. For example, administration of Hepatitis B vaccine into gluteal rather than deltoid region often fails to induce desired effects. Similarly subcutaneous administration (as opposed to intramuscular) of DTP increases the risk of reactions.
  • The decision to use a non-routine vaccine involves an assessment of the risks of the disease, benefits of vaccination, and the risks associated with vaccination.
  • Relatives of immuno-compromised patients should be adequately immunized.
  • Vaccination concepts related to pregnancy and child birth
  • Transfer of maternal antibodies for specific diseases is an extremely important vehicle of ensuring immunity and safety from those diseases to the newborn child. Good examples of such diseases are tetanus and diphtheria. Therefore, the pregnant mother needs to obtain immunization for such diseases.
  • Rubella, measles, mumps and Varicella vaccine are not to be given during pregnancy as they are contraindicated.
  • Live virus vaccine should be withheld during pregnancy (exceptions include polio and yellow fever vaccines if risk of exposure to disease is high).
  • Similarly inactivated vaccines are also generally withheld during pregnancy. If necessary, HBV, influenza and pneumococcal vaccine may be given.
  • Vaccination during breast feeding is safe for both child and mother. Further, feeding mother can be immunized if required as per schedule without causing harm to child.
  • The presence of high level of material antibody and/or immaturity of immune system in early months of life impairs immune response to some vaccines (e.g. Measles of Hib polysaccharide vaccine) but not to others (e.g. HEPB)
  • Because live virus vaccine can interfere with tuberculin test response, necessary tuberculin testing should either be done on the day of immunization or at least 6 weeks later.
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