Vaccinations are an important form of primary prevention, preventing people from falling seriously ill.
Most times, our innate immune systems help protect against infectious pathogens either by keeping them out or breaking them down. Sometimes, this system is overwhelmed and infections take place.
Vaccinations work by ‘teaching’ the immune system to recognise the pathogens in advanced. When such a pathogen enters the system, the body is able to generate an immune reaction quickly and adequately hence, preventing or reducing the severity of the disease.
On a larger scale, vaccinations are able to protect an entire society when enough individuals are vaccinated, also known as herd immunity.
Vaccines can come in the form of:
- a protein or sugar from the component of a pathogen*
- a dead or inactivated form of a pathogen
- a toxoid containing toxin made by a pathogen
- a weakened pathogen
Vaccines are usually given by injection. Most vaccines contain two parts. The first is the antigen. This is the piece of the disease your body must learn to recognise. The second is the adjuvant. The adjuvant sends a danger signal to your body. It helps your immune system to respond more strongly against the antigen as an infection. This helps you develop immunity.
*Pathogens = germs
|Disease||Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis|
|Age||4 yrs and above|
|Indications||Active booster immunization against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough)|
|Age||9 – 14 years old, 15 years and above|
|Indications||Females from 9 to 25 years of age for the prevention of persistent infection, premalignant cervical lesions and cervical cancer caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV)|
|Age||0 – 19 years old, 20 years and above|
|Indications||Active immunisation against hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection caused by all known subtypes in subjects of all ages considered at risk of exposure to HBV.|
|Age||12 months and above|
|Indications||Active immunisation against varicella of healthy children and adults from 9 months of age.|
|Disease||Measles, Mumps and Rubella|
|Age||1 – 17 years old, 18 years and above|
|Indications||To protect against measles, mumps, and rubella. It works by helping the body to make its own antibodies that protect against these diseases.|
|Disease||Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B|
|Age||1 – 15 years old, 16 years and above|
|Indications||Active immunization against disease caused by hepatitis A virus and infection by all known subtypes of hepatitis B virus. TWINRIX is approved for use in persons 18 years of age or older.|
|Age||6 months – 9 years, 9 years old and above|
|Indications||Active immunisation of adults and children from 6 months of age for the prevention of influenza disease caused by the influenza virus types A and B contained in the vaccine|