Childhood immunisation involves giving your child a vaccine to protect him/her against a particular disease(s). This vaccine encourages the child’s immune system to produce antibodies against the particular disease(s). These antibodies help your child fight the disease(s) if he/she comes into contact with it. Vaccines reduce your child’s risk of infection by working with his/her body’s natural defenses to help safely develop immunity to disease.
Vaccination protects your child and those around them.
Vaccinating your child not only protects them, it also provides protection for all children. If enough children are immunised against a particular disease, the risk of it spreading from person to person is very low and the disease may be eradicated altogether.
What are vaccines made of and how do they work?
Vaccines are made from the same viruses (or parts of them) that cause disease.
The vaccines are introduced into our bodies usually via injection. Our immune system then reacts by making antibodies that give us immunity. While some vaccines give us immunity for life, others may require repeated booster shots for maintenance of immunity.
Statistically, there is a chance that your child may not get diseases such as measles, pertussis, or another vaccine-preventable disease. However, should they need the protection, you would not want to regret not having them vaccinated against these preventable diseases.
Are vaccines safe?
Vaccines are safe. Although vaccines are made from the same infective agents (or parts of them) that cause the disease, they will not make the person sick from the disease. This is because the germs are either killed or weakened. Each new vaccine is tested thoroughly before it is licensed and it is monitored closely for side-effects. The benefits of immunisation are much greater than the small risk of side-effects. If any at all, the side-effects are usually mild.
Should my child get vaccinated if they are sick?
If your child has a mild illness, e.g. cough, mild fever, etc. they are safe to be vaccinated. For children with serious illnesses or weakened immune system from previous illness, consult a doctor for further advice.