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Vaccination is a way of protecting against serious diseases. Once we have been immunised, our bodies are better able to fight those diseases if we come into contact with them.

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Introduction

Vaccination - Your questions answered? Vaccination is a way of protecting against serious diseases. Once we have been immunised, our bodies are better able to fight those diseases if we come into contact with them. Why do we immunise against diseases that have disappeared from this country? In the UK, these diseases are kept at bay by high immunisation rates. Around the world more than 15 million people die each year from infectious diseases. More than half a million are under the age of five, most of which could be prevented by immunisation. As more people travel abroad and more people come to visit this country there is a risk that they will bring diseases into the UK. The disease could spread to people in the UK who haven't been immunised so your child is at greater risk if they have not been immunised. Immunisation doesn't just protect your child it also helps to protect your family and the whole community especially those children who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons. How do we know that vaccines are safe? Before they are used in practice they are thoroughly tested to assess their safety and effectiveness. ...read more.

Middle

The antibodies then remain in the blood system to protect your child should they come into contact with the disease again. Because vaccines have been used so successfully in the UK, diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough have almost disappeared from this country. Why is it important to keep vaccinating? Even if there are only a few cases of the disease if we took away the protection given by vaccination more and more people will be infected and the disease will transmit to others. Soon we would undo the progress we have made over the years. This is why we need to carry on vaccinating as many people as possible until the disease is virtually eradicated just like smallpox was in 1980. Getting your child vaccinated will bring us one step closer to eradicating Polio, which caused as many as 8000 cases in the UK in epidemic years before a vaccine was introduced to prevent it. What is polio? Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system which can cause permanent paralysis of muscles. If it attacks the chest muscles or the brain, polio can kill. ...read more.

Conclusion

Very rarely, some children can have an anaphylactic reaction within a few minutes of having a vaccine. This can cause breathing difficulties and sometimes collapse. This is a severe allergic reaction that can occur in one in a million immunisations and needs urgent treatment. A child should recover with immediate treatment. Children who have any condition that affects the immune system such as cancer, a transplant or immunodeficiency should not be vaccinated. If your child has a fever then the immunisation should be put off until the child is well. Most commonly children who have just been vaccinated can experience some redness, swelling or tenderness where they had the injection. This can be a little sore but usually disappears by itself within a few days. They may also feel unwell, irritable or have a temperature (fever). This can be treated with paracetamol and plenty to drink. In this country you have the right to choose whether your child is vaccinated. Although vaccination can never be completely safe for everyone it is considered to be the safest way to protect your child from very serious diseases. Remember that epidemics can only be prevented where a large percentage of the population are vaccinated. By William Roberts ...read more.

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