Right from the time of pregnancy to the time the child turns just short of ten, we are often given a list of vaccines by the paediatrician that have to be taken at timely intervals. In our campaign about the importance of vaccines, we have covered a vast variety of topics; right from busting the myths to understanding why vaccine should be given to knowing the advantages of a pre-qualified vaccine from WHO. There are so many factors that go into not just choosing a vaccine but also administering it.
Better hygiene can make vaccination redundant: True or False
One question that always stood out was “We follow good hygiene, is vaccination still important?”
Let me answer this for you, over the years vaccines have played a critical role in preventing vaccine preventable diseases (VPD). Hygiene on the other hand has played a critical role in the decline of some of these official diseases, but the fact remains that these diseases have not stopped completely.
A hygiene gives you a protection on the outer part of the body, while the vaccines protect the body in entirely; they help build immunity against any potential diseases.
So, can better hygiene replace vaccination?
Hygiene on its own cannot make a vaccine redundant, hygiene is not merely washing your hands, and it is a combination of a plethora of things. Improved diet, good exercise habits, also contribute to good hygiene.
While better hygiene may improve your quality of life and living that will not be enough to pull you through vaccine preventable diseases. Let’s accept a fact that despite being vaccinated, it is normal to fall ill to the diseases one may have been vaccinated. But the fact remains is that the intensity of the illness is low because the body has already developed an immunity towards the disease.
How does a vaccine work?
A vaccine offers a specific immunity against a specific pathogen or disease. A vaccine works by training the immune system to recognize and combat pathogens, either viruses or bacteria. To do this, certain molecules from the pathogen must be introduced into the body to trigger an immune response. These molecules are called antigens, and they are part of either viruses and bacteria. (1) Better-hygiene can contribute to non-specific immunity, but the concept of hygiene is very relative. No amount of hygiene can replace a vaccine
Let’s take the example of a disease tetanus. There is no way that hygiene can replace the role of the vaccine. You can clean the wound with a wound cleanser, but the prevention of disease is possible with the immunity of the vaccine that may have been administered to you as a child.
Wrapping it up
To sum it up, better hygiene is for good for all over well-being, but it cannot be interpreted to be able to replace the actual benefits of a vaccine. A vaccine will help you build your immunity against a plethora of diseases for a lifetime. Stay safe and stay vaccinated. So do you think that better hygiene can make a vaccine redundant?
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References: 1. https://www.publichealth.org/public-awareness/understanding-vaccines/vaccines-work/