Every year India witnesses 5 lakh deaths due to vaccine-preventable diseases. We all know how important vaccinations are for kids yet there is such a huge number of lives lost due to diseases that could have easily been prevented with vaccines. To create awareness and in an attempt to bring this number down here is a lowdown of how vaccinations work and what goes inside them that helps save millions of innocent lives.
First of all, how do vaccines work?
A vaccine contains antigens to provoke an immune response and help stimulate the production of antibodies. This is done so that the body mimics a real-life infection and makes the body learn how to identify and react to the same pathogen in future. These antigens are delivered by putting a weakened pathogen in the body or by taking an antigen from the pathogen and delivering them alone.
Here is a list of things that goes inside them.
● Antigens - These are small amounts of weak or dead germs that cause diseases. They help our immune system fight diseases faster and more effectively.
Example: The flu virus.
● Adjuvants - These are put in vaccines to help our immune system respond more strongly to a vaccine to increase our immunity against the disease.
For keeping them safe and long-lasting:
● Preservatives - They protect the vaccine from outside bacteria and fungus. Nowadays preservatives are only used in vials of vaccines that have more than one dose. Essentially because every time a single dose is taken from the vial there is a possibility that harmful germs might get inside. For that same reason, most vaccines are now available for a single dosage.
● Stabilisers - They help the active ingredients in vaccines to continue working while the vaccine is made, stored and moved to the final destination. They keep the vaccine from deteriorating in case of a change in temperature and other external factors.
Example: Sugar and gelatin
● Cell culture (growth) material - This is used to help the antigens grow in vaccines.
● Inactivating (germ-killing) ingredients - These are used to weaken or kill viruses, bacteria or toxins in the vaccine.
● Antibiotics - This is used to help keep the outside bacteria and germs from growing in the vaccine.
Now that we know what these vaccines are made of, it's advisable to get your child vaccinated at all costs. It is a simple process that goes a long way in saving a kid’s life.
To know more about the Swasth Immunised India campaign, click here.