Outline the reasons for immunisation

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 1.3: Support physical care routines for children
Learning outcome: Understand childhood immunisation
Assessment criteria: Outline the reasons for immunisation

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Immunisation is the process of becoming immune to a disease by administering a vaccination.

Vaccines contain a greatly weakened form of the bacterium or virus that causes a disease. When the body detects the vaccine’s contents, its immune system will be primed to make the antibodies (substances that fight off infection and disease) needed to fight off the infection.

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If a child comes into contact with the infection at a future time, the immune system will recognise it and be ready to protect him or her by producing the right antibodies. The beauty of vaccines is that they can offer protection against infections even before your child is old enough to develop their own immunity. This is particularly important for newborn babies and young infants who are vulnerable to serious infections.

As well as protecting the person who has been vaccinated, immunisations also help to protect others. This is because if large numbers of people are vaccinated, there is less chance of the disease spreading. This concept is known as ‘herd immunity, and it can be vital in preventing epidemics.

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