Immunization Process

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The immunization process has proven to be one of the most critical public health interventions for reducing morbidity and mortality rates associated with infectious diseases. Furthermore, it is a cost-effective approach estimated to save approximately 2-3 million lives each year (Encyclopedia of Early childhood Development, 2014). Immunization is the most beneficial medical approach, with the primary goal of eradicating contagious diseases like polio, smallpox, and measles worldwide. Medical practitioners also stress immunization against tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, and tuberculosis diseases to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. (MDG-4). Because immunizing children is so essential, vaccine makers collaborate with the government and academicians to warrant the development of vaccines that are utmost effective, safe and which improve on health compliance. However, even though overwhelming evidence indicate that vaccines are primarily safe, misconceptions and suspicions in the Anti-Vaccine Movement continue to drag down the immunization endeavors resulting into under-immunization (Kata, 2012). Undoubtedly, vaccination of children does not only protect the children against diseases but also guarantees the well-being of the entire society. Reasonable arguments from studies hold that immunization helps on the cognitive and the physical development of a child (Bloom et al., 2012). Therefore, in an effort to ensure that the immunization practice becomes a success, health policies have to incorporate educational and support programs which should underpin the enhancement of public trust and work towards eliminating vaccine resistance in some given societies.

Immunization

Introduction

An integration of immunization of children into the modern medication has been instituted making various generations to grow up without the risk of exposure to epidemic diseases such as measles and polio. At the same time, there has been an emergence of anti-vaccine movements that strongly believe that immunization is not beneficial to the child. These movements have powered their arguments on the side effects related to immunization process. Thus, a division has been created and some parents opt to immunize their children while others don’t. This research paper will discuss the immunization process of the child. It will enumerate the importance of immunizing a child, the side effects and also mention the disorders and diseases that arise from immunization of children.

Statement of the Problem

Immunization of children is an important medical factor that ensures that children are protected from fatal diseases and have a proper development. Immunization is vital in the development of herd immunity and thus every country has to put immunization of children into its development goals. This paper will discuss deeply the concepts of immunization and show how it is beneficial to a country.

History of Immunization

Jenner Edward (1749-1823) is well known to be the father of immunology. He conceived the idea of immunization after critically observing that milkmaids were not suffering from small pox which was termed to be dreadful diseases back then. There was, however, milder exposure of cowpox and he did propose an inducement of a mild disease would offer protection to the individual against virulent form. He did call this vaccine where “vaca” means cow in Latin. His experiment turned out to be successful on James Phillips’ body in 1796 and since then he did save thousands of lives from the vaccination process (MacNalty, 1965). Approximately a century later, in 1881, Lewis Pasteur also succeeded in the production of vaccines for rabies (hydrophobia) anthrax (MacNalty, 1965). Individuals who became victims of dog bites were then immunized through series of injections known and Pasteur injections.

Why Immunizing Babies is Important

Protecting the health of a child is very vital to any parent and this forms the basis for immunizing a child. Immunization protects a child from a serious diseases that are present in the surrounding. The point of vaccination in public health is directed at complete elimination or reduction of certain diseases such as measles, polio, and pertussis. These diseases are still in existence and thus the need to immunize children to protect them. Also, diseases such as diphtheria or polio spread across countries by unvaccinated individuals. For instance, in 2014, America did experience a number of measles cases that originated from the Philippines despite the disease having been eradicated from the country (Grange, 2008). Thus, is becomes significant to vaccinate children to protect them from the unvaccinated people that they could come into contact with. Immunization of children is proven to be safe to children and the best choice a parent can make for the child. A child requires protection from early on to enable him or her have a healthy life in future. Essentially, immunization decreases the child mortality which id critically cost effective and improves the health of the baby.

Spreading of the Immunization Process across Years

In many of survey studies carried out, most parents and medical practitioners agree that spreading of the vaccine in a given number of years for a child is more effective than concentrating all the entire immunization process in few weeks of the newborn baby. The major reasons as postulated by (Domachowske, 2007) is that sometimes children are not left in good health care condition as the entire vaccination is given at tender age. Arguments have it that, follow-up activities have to be done in later years to ensure that the person receives complete immunization if supposing he did not develop immunity at early years. The outbreak of measles in adults arises from the individuals who became resistant to the process in early years. Parents claim that the child at a tender age is subjected to numerous injections and if the immunization is spread out it would be more effective and relieved the child the stress of additional pain from vaccination. Children are vaccinated from influenza, rotavirus, polio, measles and many other illnesses. Therefore, if this vaccination is spread out it becomes effective.

Side Effects of Vaccines

In any medication process possibilities of adverse and side effects arising from it are inevitable. However, the benefits of immunization do outweigh the side effects. According to CDC, the adverse and side effects of immunization are little and they tend to disappear within few days of immunization. The mild side effects comprise of headaches, nausea, pain or swelling of the injection site and mild rashes that could last 2 to 4 days. Besides, the child is likely to feel dizzy, eruption of secondary blisters on another part of the body and fever. Moderate to severe effects include serious eye infections or vision loss resulting from the spreading of the vaccine virus, severe rashes on the entire body and encephalitis which is a severe reaction of the brain to the vaccine and it causes permanent brain damages (Bloom, 2012). Serious cases culminate to death.

Immunization and Immunity

The environment of a child contains great variety of microbe infections consisting of bacteria, viruses, multicellular parasites, protozoa and fungi which could lead to diseases. It, therefore, becomes significant to understand how vaccines work in the development of the immunity system of a child to help in protection against contracting the diseases. Vaccination is used in the development of herd immunity which protects the entire society. The immune system does provide protection from the infectious diseases through the identification of microbes as foreign organisms that cause diseases. As numerous microorganisms attack the body, vaccines ensure that there are wide varieties of immune responses needed to handle every infection in the body. Vaccines induce antigens to produce immunity through the production of antibodies which are protein molecules in specific cells required to fight the given disease (Grange, 2008). This leads to adaptive immunity and makes the infant be at a lower risk of developing pertussis, measles, mumps, and rebula. It also makes the child develop immunity against meningococcal, pneumococcal, and tetanus diseases together with haemophilus influenza and diphtheria.

Effects of Immunization on the Physical and Cognitive Development of a Child

The benefits of child vaccination could fully reach into the child’s adulthood life and have great impacts on the wide society and thus the entire economy. Researchers have indicated an improvement in life expectancy up to 5 years in the people who undergone immunization process and aids in the physical development of a child (Bloom et al., 2012). Vaccines such as polio and tetanus make the child develop good conditions and prevent the development of any deformity. The findings from a study carried out in the Philippines indicated that immunization help in inducing an improvement in the test scores in children and this translated to a higher return on investment of up to 21% when incorporated into the gains earned in adulthood (Bloom et al., 2012). Besides, Kata (2012) documents that there is a significant relationship between the measles immunization coverage and the grade attained at school in pairs of siblings after a control of intrinsic factors like household wealth level.

This evidence concludes that there is an association between immunization and child cognitive development. Immunization is normally administered to children when their rate of brain development is at its peak and thus end up being beneficial to the development of cognitive by preventing sicknesses and neurological complications that could hamper the brain development such as encephalitis. It is worth noting that few studies have linked the vaccination process to the development of lower rates of fertility during adulthood. However, these studies require more elaboration to be termed as true as the pictures under these claims remain incomplete. There is evidence of association of immunization to improvement in survival, cognitive, the physical capability and higher education attainment together with work productivity (Kata, 2012). Immunization has led to decrease in morbidity and mortality rates and thus boosting the productivity of a country and translating to higher levels of GDP. It follows logic that immunization reduces the prevalence of diseases and thus improving the physical development of a child.

Disorders and Diseases Resulting from Immunization

There are widespread of vaccine complications which cause disorders and diseases that could be life threatening. Most vaccines are associated with complications such as brain inflammation which could culminate into damaged immune system and chronic brain damage. According to Institute of Medicine (IOM), immunization could lead to disorders and diseases such as febrile seizures, anaphylaxis, acute and chronic arthritis, brachial neuritis and thrombocytopenia. Deltoid bursitis, syncope, chronic nervous system dysfunction and also Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) could come as a result of vaccination (Encyclopedia of Early childhood Development, 2014).  Brain disorders such as encephalopathy or seizures could happen due to immunization.  Post-immunization seizures are mostly related to infants immunized with cellular pertussis-containing (DTaP) vaccines.

There has been evidence that link occurrence of febrile seizures after a DTaP vaccination and cases of febrile convulsions happen in childhood and this is a trait that is 2-5% present in the US population (Encyclopedia of Early childhood Development, 2014). Besides, familial seizures, evident from immunization are termed to be outcomes from immunization but do not have effects on later developments. The fever experienced after immunization could trigger seizures having a less benign condition that was not previously evident in the infant like malformation of the brain and congenital infection (Encyclopedia of Early childhood Development, 2014). The extent of the underlying problems could travel through investigations comprising the brain imaging studies, CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) and EGG analysis.

Post-Immunization Encephalopathy

Acute neurological conditions are encompassed in encephalopathy and this consist of altered mental functioning and reduced levels of consciousness that could be accompanied by seizures or not. There are conditions of meningoencephalitis that are accompanied by immunization and infants become susceptible to encephalitis together with various viral infections (Encyclopedia of Early childhood Development, 2014). The types of virus that are responsible for encephalitisin children comprise of enteroviruses, herpes simplex, and type 6 human herpes. The change in inflammation of CSF which is a rise in leukocytes gives vital clue to the existence of the viral infections to the central nervous system and parechovirus.  

Immunization and Autism

A global rise in autism diagnosis rates has fueled the concerns that exposure to vaccines used in the immunization process lead to autism. The theories of the putative argument center on the vaccines thimerosal, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) together with the numerous vaccines presently used in the immunization process. Plotkin t al. (2009) state that “Although child vaccination rates remain high, some parental concern persists that vaccines might cause autism”. Plotkin t al. further documents that vaccines weaken the child's immune system and they deeply discussed the genesis of the theories in the causes of autism. However biological and epidemiological researchers fail to support the claim that autism is caused by immunization

MMR and Thimerosal and the Cause of Autism

Andrew Wakefield in 1999 published a report which did describe 8 children whose initial signs of autism did occur within one month after a successive recovery from MMR vaccine. The eight children were found to have gastrointestinal signs and symptoms of lymphoid nodular hyperplasia which did show endoscopy (Wakefield, 1990). Wakefield did report that MMR vaccine immunization leads to inflammation of the intestine and later caused translocation of normal peptide no permeability of the blood stream. This then affects the brain and thus impacting on the development of the child. Thimerosal is an antibacterial compound which has been utilized in an effective manner in multi-dose vaccine preparation. Quantities of ethylmercury contained in this type of vaccines are linked to the cause of autism.

However, a given number of issues undermine Wakefield claims. To start with, the self-referred cohorts that Wakefield used did not incorporate the control subjects that excluded him from determining the reason as to why the occurrence of autism that followed the immunization of MMR was coincidental or causal. Secondly, the evaluation of neuropsychological and endoscopic was not blind and the collected data was not in any way systematic and complete. Lastly, signs of gastrointestinal infection could not accurately lead to the prediction of autism in infants and this is inconsistent with claims that inflammation of the intestines facilitates the invasion of the bloodstream.

Conclusion

Immunization of babies is critically significant as it offers protection to the child from contracting dreadful diseases that could affect the health. In the current globalized world, people travel from country to country carrying diseases that pose a threat to the health of citizens. The government, therefore, has to fully legalized immunization and introduce punitive sanctions to the people who refuse to immunize their children. Mass campaigns have to be carried out to inform and educate the public on the importance of immunization. If immunizations could to be embraced by all people including the activists, the country will be at a safer position of ensuring that all the citizens are healthy. There are positive associations between immunization, physical and cognitive development of a child. It also leads to an improved socioeconomic status and reduces the mortality rates both in infants and in adults.

References

Bloom, D., Canning, D., & Shenoy, E. (2012). The effect of vaccination on children's physical and cognitive development in the Philippines. Applied Economics, 44(21), 2777-2783. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2011.566203

Domachowske, J. (2007). Progress in infant immunization. Clinical Microbiology Newsletter, 29(6), 41-45. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinmicnews.2007.03.001

Encyclopedia of Early childhood Development. (2014). Immunization: “What Else Could It Be?” When Neurologic Disorders Follow Immunization. Retrieved on 13, Feb 2017 from http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/immunization/according-experts/what-else-could-it-be-when-neurologic-disorders-follow-immunization

Grange, A. (2008). Global immunization for children. Archives Of Ibadan Medicine, 8(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/aim.v8i2.34675

Kata, A. (2012). Anti-vaccine activists, Web 2.0, and the postmodern paradigm – An overview of tactics and tropes used online by the anti-vaccination movement. Vaccine, 30(25), 3778-3789. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.11.112

MacNalty, A. (1965). A History of Immunization. BMJ, 2(5463), 695-695. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.2.5463.695-b

Plotkin Stanley, Jeffrey S. Gerber and Paul A. Offit. (2009). Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses. Clinical Infectious Disease.  Retrieved on 13, Feb 2017 from https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/48/4/456/284219/Vaccines-and-Autism-A-Tale-of-Shifting-Hypotheses

Wakefield, A. (1999). MMR vaccination and autism. The Lancet, 354(9182), 949-950. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(05)75696-8

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