What is Natural Immunity and How Vaccines Help

May 6, 2020 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Health and Wellness

What is Natural Immunity and How Vaccines Help | Baby & Beyond

Over the last decade, there has been a lot of debate about whether there is really a need for vaccines or not. Many people have been concerned about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Instead they promote natural immunity over vaccine-induced immunity.

As a mother, I have always tried to make more conscious choices for my child. I prefer natural / organic kids’ products and foods over processed and artificial ones. So naturally this debate of vaccines vs natural immunity concerned me. I did some research on what exactly natural immunity is and whether this alone is enough to keep my child healthy. Though I am no expert, I am sharing my research here in case it helps some of you parents as well.

What is Natural Immunity and How Vaccines Help | Baby & Beyond
What is Natural Immunity and How Vaccines Help | Baby & Beyond

What is natural immunity?

Natural immunity is built by the body naturally, without any medical intervention. The only way to get natural immunity is through infection with the actual disease. The body’s immune system releases antibodies to fight off the infection. Once you recover, the body has the ability to recognize the same infection in the future and fight it off faster. This is how natural immunity builds and this can last a lifetime.

So then what are vaccines and why are vaccines needed?

Understanding how vaccines work:

Vaccines are made up of very small amounts of weak or dead germs. This is not sufficient to make the child fall sick when injected, but it is sufficient to stimulate the immune system to release antibodies and build its defence. Hence in case the actual germ does attack the body in the future, the immune system is already prepared to fight it off. Another advantage is vaccine boosters can be given to extend the duration of immunity. 

Vaccines vs Natural immunity:

Natural immunity can be built after a single infection and can last lifelong, while immunity from vaccines can take multiple doses. So then what are the benefits of vaccination?

  1. Vaccines help the child build immunity in a regulated environment or in a controlled manner. By this I mean that the amount of infection injected through a vaccine is very small, whereas with a natural infection, you cannot control the level of infection. Infection from pathogens like measles, rubella, polio, pneumonia, etc. can be life threatening and can have serious lifelong impact occasionally.
  2. Natural immunity only protects the infected person. On the other hand, vaccination can reduce the overall spread of disease by protecting even those who are unvaccinated with good immunization coverage, for e.g., infants, elderly, pregnant women or those who have a weak immunity due to another disease.
  3. Vaccination is recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) and Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) which are world leading institutions when it comes to health
  4. Both vaccine-induced immunity as well as natural immunity are not 100% effective. However vaccinated individuals are less likely to develop severe complications from the same disease

All in all, after doing some research and taking the balanced opinion of my pediatrician, I believe that vaccinations are not only effective and safer, but also a must for young children as per the immunization schedule recommended by the Government of India.

I would love to hear what your thoughts on this. Do share in the comments below.

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Disclaimer: This is a general information post based on my experience and research. This post should not be mistaken for professional medical advice. 

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