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    FAQs about vaccines

    Written on 7 November 2017

    Expert Verified

    Kusum Sabharwal

    Obstetrician & Gynecologist - MBBS| DGO

    1. Why vaccinate?

    'Will my child be protected by herd immunity if I don’t get them vaccinated?'

    'If there’s an outbreak of a disease like measles I can always get my child vaccinated then, can’t I?'

    Because of the way vaccines work, this can put a child at risk. For many diseases, one dose of vaccine does not give full protection. Some vaccines do work with a single dose, but it can take two or three weeks for the body to develop good levels of antibodies to protect against the disease.

    So if a vaccine is given at the start of an outbreak it may not act quickly enough to protect your child. The other problem is that many diseases are infectious before any symptoms show, so your child could catch a disease before you even realise there is an outbreak.

    'Does breastfeeding my baby protect them from infectious diseases?'

    Breast milk does contain some antibodies which are passed to the baby, especially in the first few days. However, this ‘passive immunity’ wears off after a few weeks, and after that breastfeeding offers very little protection from serious infectious diseases. It is therefore best to get your child vaccinated even if you are breastfeeding long-term.

    'Will a good diet and plenty of exercise help to prevent my children from getting infectious diseases?'

    To some extent, it will. Children with severe malnutrition are more at risk of disease, and a good diet is an important part of keeping healthy.

    However, healthy children in wealthy countries are still at risk from conditions such as meningitis and septicaemia (severe blood poisoning). There is also strong evidence that healthy, non-immunised children are more affected than adults during outbreaks of infectious disease because they have wider social networks and come into close contact with more people. There is no evidence that an organic diet offers any greater protection.

    'Can I use homeopathic remedies to protect my child?'

    There is no evidence that homeopathic medicine can protect against serious infectious diseases.

    Even the Faculty of Homeopathy. a UK organisation which aims to ensure high standards in homeopathic practice and training, states that ‘When there is no medical contraindication...immunisation should be carried out according to the current protocol using approved vaccines.’

    'Will catching an infectious disease make my child's immune system stronger?'

    During any infection by bacteria or viruses, our immune system makes antibodies to fight that particular disease. For many diseases, an 'immune memory' is then created in special white blood cells called T lymphocytes. If we come into contact with the same disease, these white blood cells will 'remember' it and react quickly to fight it, so that we do not become ill. However, this process can only protect you against the specific disease that you have had. It does not make it easier for the body to respond to other kinds of infections.

    The measles virus actually seriously damages and suppresses the whole immune system. Measles infection destroys the white blood cells that hold the 'immune memory', wiping out our immunity to diseases we have already had. This makes it much more likely that people who have had measles will catch other infections, even ones they have had before. Research published in 2015 found that it can take the body up to three years to recover from this damage. Before a measles vaccine was available, it is estimated that measles was the direct or indirect cause of over half of all childhood deaths from infectious disease.

    Is this helpful?



    Verified Article by

    Kusum Sabharwal

    Obstetrician & Gynecologist - MBBS| DGO
    Written by

    Mylo Editor

    Mylo Editor

    Read from 5000+ Articles, topics, verified by MYLO.

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