What is ‘World Immunization week’ ?
Every year ‘Last week’ of April is celebrated as World Immunization Week to promote the use of vaccines to protect the people against diseases. This saves millions of people’s lives every year.
What are vaccines ?
Vaccines are either live (but inactive) organisms, Dead organisms or products developed from them.
How are vaccines administered ?
Vaccines can be administered either via oral or injectable route. Injectable route can be intradermal(BCG), Subcutaneous(Rabies) or Intramuscular(Hepatitis B). Polio vaccine is administered via Oral route.
What is the purpose of vaccination ?
Vaccines are capable of stimulating a person’s immune system. So the person’s body develops special sets of protecting cells & antibodies to fight against bacteria or viruses for which the vaccine is introduced.
What is the role of vaccination in gastroenterology ?
- Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A virus gets transmitted via food products. It is one of the commonest causes of viral hepatitis in India. It is advisable to get oneself protected against Hepatitis A by administering Hepatitis A vaccine, which is available in injectable form. Two doses are recommended, 6 months apart. It is likely to protect 98% of individuals if administered correctly. Patients with chronic liver disease (cirrhosis) are also advised to have this vaccine as any type of hepatitis can lead to liver failure in them.
- Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B virus is transmitted via infected needles or blood transfusions. The incidence has reduced since the universally adapted safe practices. However, it is always advisable to get yourself protected against this virus if you are a healthcare worker. It is administered intramuscularly for 3 doses (0,1 & 6 months). Also recommended in patients with Cirrhosis & in family members of patients with hepatitis B positivity.
- Prior to spleen removal: Patients who are required to have their spleen removed (e.g. ITP, Hereditary spherocytosis etc.) will also be advised to take certain vaccines for future protection. These vaccines include Pneumococcal, Meningococcal & H.Influenza vaccines.