Immunization

Immunization, or immunisation, is the process by which an individual's immune system becomes fortified against an agent (known as the immunogen).

When this system is exposed to molecules that are foreign to the body, called non-self, it will orchestrate an immune response, and it will also develop the ability to quickly respond to a subsequent encounter because of immunological memory. This is a function of the adaptive immune system. Therefore, by exposing an animal to an immunogen in a controlled way, its body can learn to protect itself: this is called active immunization.

The most important elements of the immune system that are improved by immunization are the T cells, B cells, and the antibodies B cells produce. Memory B cell and memory T cells are responsible for a swift response to a second encounter with a foreign molecule. Passive immunization is when these elements are introduced directly into the body, instead of when the body itself has to make these elements.

Immunization is done through various techniques, most commonly vaccination. Vaccines against microorganisms that cause diseases can prepare the body's immune system, thus helping to fight or prevent an infection. The fact that mutations can cause cancer cells to produce proteins or other molecules that are unknown to the body forms the theoretical basis for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Other molecules can be used for immunization as well, for example in experimental vaccines against nicotine (NicVAX) or the hormone ghrelin in experiments to create an obesity vaccine.

Before vaccines, the only way people became immune to a certain disease was by actually getting the disease and surviving it. Immunizations are definitely less risky and an easier way to become immune to a particular disease. They are important for both adults and children in that they can protect us from the many diseases out there. Through the use of immunizations, some infections and diseases have almost completely been eradicated throughout the United States and the World. One for example is polio. Thanks to dedicated health care professionals and the parents of children who vaccinated on schedule, polio has been eliminated in the U.S. since 1979. Polio is still found in other parts of the world though so certain people could still be at risk of getting it. This includes those people who have never had the vaccine, those who didn't receive all doses of the vaccine, or those traveling to areas of the world where polio is still prevalent.

Active immunization/vaccination has been named one of the "Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century".

Read more about Immunization:  Passive and Active Immunisation

Other articles related to "immunization":

Expanded Program On Immunization (Philippines) - Routine Schedule of Immunization
... Every Wednesday is designated as immunization day and is adopted in all parts of the country ... Immunization is done monthly in barangay health stations, quarterly in remote areas of the country ...
Active Immunization
... Active immunization is the induction of immunity after exposure to an antigen ... Active immunization can occur naturally when a microbe or other antigen is received by a person who has not yet come into contact with the microbe and has no pre-made antibodies for defense ... Artificial active immunization is where the microbe is injected into the person before they are able to take it in naturally ...
Passive and Active Immunisation - Passive Immunization
... Passive immunization is where pre-synthesized elements of the immune system are transferred to a person so that the body does not need to produce these elements itself ... Currently, antibodies can be used for passive immunization ... This method of immunization begins to work very quickly, but it is short lasting, because the antibodies are naturally broken down, and if there are no B cells to produce more antibodies ...
Jean Marie Okwo Bele - Career
... Okwo-Bele served as an Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) Manager, within the EPI-Combatting Child Communicable Diseases division of the ... left WHO to join another UN Agency, UNICEF, where he held the position of Chief of Immunization Activities, at the UNICEF Headquarters in New York City ... serve as the new Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland ...