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Vaccines and Immunity

Vaccination plays a vital role in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases successfully. Vaccination is an action to introduce vaccines into our body system and is usually given by injection. Vaccines are made using several different processes. It is a product of either a killed germ, a live but weakened germ or just a critical part of the germ that activates our body immune system to be immune to that specific germ. It is important to build immunity, to protect yourself from an infectious specific disease eg measles, mumps, rubella or tetanus and so on. If you have immunity to a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming infected. Not only that, being vaccinated can also prevent transmission of the virus to other people. Vaccination is considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the most effective ways to prevent diseases and cost-effective health interventions ever.

Like any medicine, vaccines can have mild side effects such as mild fever or reaction such as redness, swelling, bruising, soreness or slight rash at the injection spot. These effects usually will go away within a few days. Serious or life-threatening side effects or reactions from vaccines are rare. In fact, most people are at a higher risk of becoming ill from diseases if they’re not vaccinated.

The current Malaysian National Immunisation Programme (NIP) is the up to date immunisation schedule recommended and given free at government health facilities for local citizen children from birth till 15 against 12 major childhood diseases.

1)Tuberculosis (TB) - A disease that commonly infects the lungs, but can also attack other parts such as the kidney, spine, skin, intestines and brain.
2)Hepatitis B - Infection of the liver by the Hepatitis B virus.
3)Diphtheria - An infection of the throat and nose that can cause breathing difficulties, heart failures, paralysis.
4)Tetanus - Also known as lockjaw, caused by bacteria toxins that attack the body’s nervous system.
5)Whooping cough (pertussis) - Highly contagious, with violent and persistent coughing that may cause a child to struggle to breathe and, turn blue (cyanosed).
6)Poliomyelitis (polio) - An infectious and incurable viral disease that attacks the nervous system.
7)Haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB) - A highly infectious bacterial disease that attacks lung, blood and brain.
8)Measles - A highly contagious viral disease.
9)Mumps - A viral infection that is the most common cause of inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
10)Rubella - Also known as German measles that may cause abnormalities to the foetus.
11)Japanese encephalitis (JE) - Infection of the brain caused by JE virus.
12)Human papilloma virus (HPV) - Most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that causes cervical cancer which is the third most common cancer in women.

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