Vaccination Vs. Immunization
Difference Between Vaccination And Immunization
You probably give very little thought to becoming ill with a life-threatening disease. For your great-grandparents, serious illnesses—especially during childhood—were constant concerns. Today that is no longer true, thanks to vaccinations.
Vaccination, also called inoculation or immunization, is a medical procedure that protects a person against certain diseases. It has eliminated the disease smallpox from the world and has helped control many other diseases. Diphtheria, tetanus, yellow fever, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, and rubella all can be prevented with vaccinations.
Vaccinations are usually given as injections (often called shots). A shot injects the vaccine through the skin with a needle. Other vaccines are given orally (by mouth). You may remember receiving vaccinations in both forms when you were a young child.
Today the terms vaccination, inoculation, and immunization are used interchangeably; this was not always the case. The first vaccination was given in 1796 during a time when many people suffered and died of smallpox. Today “vaccination” usually means protection from any type of disease.
Defenses Against Diseases
Vaccinations work because they stimulate the body to build defenses against infection. These defenses are part of the body’s immune system. The immune system’s job is to protect and defend the body from infections and illnesses.
When disease-causing organisms (germs), such as bacteria and viruses, enter the body, certain cells in the immune system begin to make antibodies. Antibodies are chemical substances that can stop disease organisms from causing a massive infection. The immune-system cells make a special antibody for each type of disease organism. Other cells directly attack the organisms and work to remove them from the body.
After a person recovers from an infectious disease, some of the antibodies and defensive cells for that particular disease remain in the body. If the same disease organisms enter the body again, the defenses are ready to help prevent the illness. This is why we rarely experience two episodes of certain infectious diseases, such as measles or rubella. When the body’s defenses prevent an infection of a disease, a person is said to have an immunity to that disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is an agency within the United Nations whose goal is to promote good health. The agency is working to immunize every child in the world against six preventable diseases: diptheria, whooping cough, tetanus, measles, polio, and tuberculosis. WHO’s Immunization Program has reached approximately 80 percent of all the children in the world, so its goal is very much in sight.