The importance of vaccination: your health first

Vaccines are substances that have the function of stimulating our body to produce immune responses in order to protect us against certain diseases.

In addition, vaccination decreases the number of hospitalizations, reduces medication costs and the mortality rate.

Understand a little more about vaccination, the way the vaccine acts in our body and some more reasons that will make clear its great importance.

Why is vaccination important?

Vaccination is essential to protect the body against diseases that threaten health, at all ages. And it remains the safest and most effective form of prevention, especially against infectious diseases.

Vaccines are instruments of individual and collective protection. By vaccinating the population, we decrease the incidence of a certain disease. As the entire population gets vaccinated, the rates drop until no more cases are registered, as the entire population is protected.

Although it seems impossible to protect an entire population, immunization has given results in Brazil and worldwide. In our country, polio and smallpox have been eradicated thanks to the use of vaccines. Other diseases have also had their cases reduced, such as neonatal tetanus.

The benefits of vaccination:

– Reduction in the number of cases of infectious diseases in the entire community, since transmission is reduced;

– Decrease in the number of hospitalizations;

– Reduction of expenses with medicines;

– Reduced mortality;

– Eradication of diseases.

How does the vaccine work in our body?

Vaccines are produced from the disease-causing agent itself, which is weakened or inactivated in our bodies. Although it does not cause the disease, the antigen (particle or molecule capable of triggering the production of specific antibody) is capable of stimulating our immune system, thus creating antibodies. This prevents the disease from developing in the future if the body comes into contact with the antigen again.

Main vaccines for adults

The vaccines recommended in adulthood, for the age group of 20 to 50 years, are:

• Triple bacterial (dTpa)

Protects against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.

• Yellow Fever

It is indicated only for those who reside or who are going to travel to places where the risk of the disease is high.

• Triple Viral

Protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

• Pneumo-13

Protects against pneumonia. It is more suitable for people over 65 years old, when health tends to be more compromised. Or even for those who have breathing problems, such as bronchitis or asthma.

• Flu

As the flu virus mutates, the vaccine is updated annually, so a new dose needs to be taken each year.

Bearing in mind that some vaccines are not always indicated for pregnant or lactating women, and may also need to be avoided depending on their clinical condition. Therefore, ALWAYS consult a doctor regularly and follow his instructions.

Doctors warn:  Adults who are unaware of the status of their vaccination card should be vaccinated following the recommendations of the age guidelines. Through a blood test it is also possible to state whether you are immunized against a particular disease; talk to your doctor regularly.

Main vaccines for children

Vaccination is essential during the first years of life. To protect the child from diseases and thus ensure healthy growth.

For those cases where many vaccines will be taken it is necessary to have a vaccination schedule, which must be monitored by health professionals. Check out the main ones:

• BCG

Protects against severe forms of tuberculosis.

• Hepatitis B

The vaccine is very safe and effective, with over 95% protection. The vaccine should be given in three doses: the first two with a month interval and the third, six months after the first.

• Hepatitis A

It is a single dose, administered to children aged 15 to 23 months.

• Penta / DTP

The Penta / DTP vaccine offers protection against five diseases. Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and infections caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae type b.

• VIP / VOP

Protects against polio – infantile paralysis.

• 10-valent pneumococcal

Ensures protection against ten pneumococcal bacterium subtypes. In private networks, pneumococcal is 13-valent and protects against three more types of pneumococcus, in addition to those 10 offered by the public network, increasing the protection of the baby.

• Rotavirus

It protects against rotavirus, which causes gastrointestinal infection and is serious for babies, which can lead to death from dehydration.

• Meningococcal C

It protects against meningitis C – a disease that can cause deafness and permanent brain damage.

• Yellow Fever

Only for risk areas. It cannot be taken before 6 months of age. 

• Triple Viral

Protects against measles, rubella and mumps. It is the virus vaccine made available on the public network.

• Viral Tetra

The viral tetra is not made available by the public network and offers protection for yet another virus. In addition to measles, mumps and rubella, it also protects against chickenpox (chicken pox).

• Influenza

The flu vaccine (Influenza) must be taken every year.

• HPV

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is transmitted sexually and is related to cervical cancer. The goal of taking it in childhood is to immunize children well before the start of sexual life, thereby reducing the rates of this type of cancer.

Reminder: Consult your doctor for more information about the ideal age for your child to get each vaccine.

Where should I get vaccinated?

The vaccines available in Brazil are legalized by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).

Many are offered free of charge by the National Immunization Program (PNI) and made available through the Unified Health System (SUS); others are only available at private vaccination clinics.

Stay tuned for national vaccination campaigns, as well as the availability of vaccines in public units in your region.

 

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