- Issues related to health.
World Immunization Week 2019
What to study?
For prelims: world immunisation week, what are vaccines and how do they work?
For mains: significance and the need for vaccines.
Context: World Immunization Week is celebrated in the last week of April month.
The week aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people against various diseases. Immunization is recognised as the most successful and cost-effective health invention, which saves millions of lives every year.
The theme for this year’s immunization week is – Protected Together: Vaccines Work! The week will also be celebrating Vaccine Heroes from around the world. Vaccine heroes are the people from parents, community members to innovators and health workers who help ensure that everyone is protected from diseases by getting vaccinated.
How does vaccination work?
Our immune system is composed of various types of cells. These cells defend us against invaders and remove the harmful pathogens. However, for that our immune system needs to recognise that an invader is dangerous. Vaccination works by teaching our immune system how to recognise new diseases. Vaccines stimulate our bodies to make antibodies against antigens of pathogens. It also teaches the immune system to remember the antigens that cause infection, which leads to a faster response to the same disease in the future.
In simple terms, vaccines work by exposing you to a safer version of a disease. While the body responds to the vaccine, it builds an adaptive immune system, which helps the body to fight off the actual infection in the future.
A vaccine has two parts:
A vaccine usually consists of two parts and is usually given through an injection. The first part is the antigen, which is a piece of disease one’s body must learn to recognise. The second part is the adjuvant, which sends a danger signal to the body and helps your immune system to respond strongly against the antigen. All this helps in developing your immunity.