Vaccinate or Not? What You Must Choose!


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The recent deaths of young children due to Diphtheria have sent shock waves among the citizens of this nation. Ideally this should not have occurred since all children are vaccinated as babies (from infancy stage). The vaccine DTaP is administered 3 to 4 times by the time the infant turns a year old.

What caused this fatality in Malaysia?


The lapse in vaccination has resulted in the death of 5 children so far in Malaysia. People can argue that as parents, they can choose if they wish to vaccinate their child or not. It is advisable to parents who do not wish to vaccinate their child to know the pros and cons of vaccination and then make an informed decision.

So, what are vaccines?


Vaccines are biological preparations which are made up of a killed or weakened form of disease-causing organisms in order to provide acquired immunity in the person. This causes the body of the injected person to generate something called “antigens” thus creating immunity to a specific disease.

Why vaccinate?


The debate between parents who are pro-vaccine and those who are anti-vaccine (commonly referred to as pro-vaxxer and anti-vaxxer respectively) will go on forever but it is essential to make informed choices. Choices that will not affect the lives of a young one.

So the simple answer to the question as to why you must vaccinate is – to save lives. You can save your child’s life from serious illnesses such as tetanus, hepatitis. Doctors will agree that as a parent, you will be doing a great thing for your child and the community by vaccinating your child. There have been lot of rumours doing the rounds that certain vaccines can cause autism in children. This has not been proved and parents need not panic on this issue.
Preventing Illnesses

Vaccines are an essential tool to prevent the illnesses and it ultimately helps prevent your child from undergoing any suffering.
Protecting Public Health

Herd-immunity is compromised when there are a few children who remain unvaccinated. This does not allow for total eradication of a disease in that community, and this applies globally. Example, polio has been almost entirely eradicated in many parts of the world thanks to serious vaccination drives and efforts by the governments and people. With the help of vaccines, mortality rate has come down a great extent in children.

vaccination

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Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

The timely administration of vaccines immensely helps reduce and also eradicate (almost) diseases that can rob children of their childhood. Eg Polio.
Unvaccinated children can be a threat to the health and immunity of a community

 

What are the cons of not vaccinating your child?


There is a greater risk of getting diseases that could have been prevented had the vaccine been administered. An unimmunized child can be susceptible to life-threatening diseases. Developing an immunity on its own and also recovering from the illness is a huge task, causing a great deal of misery, pain, requires a lot of money each time for treatment.
An unvaccinated child or adult can pose a threat to the other adults and children in the community.

As mentioned earlier, the herd-immunity in a community is compromised with just the presence of one child or adult who has not been vaccinated. It paves way for the entry of several diseases that can easily be prevented by a vaccine, especially to newborns and infants who may have not been vaccinated as yet (as per schedule) Children with leukemia who are at a disadvantage because they cannot be immunized due to their condition, are possible targets of diseases and illnesses.

There is a small percentage of children who cannot be administered vaccines. Unfortunately these children put others at a risk. One way to protect them is to keep them in company of immunized children. Most of the disease outbreaks are caused due to non-immunization.
Exclusion

Children may be excluded from schools or day-care facilities in case of an outbreak. The family might be quarantined in case of a disease.


Travel Limitations

Certain countries have a requirement of vaccination for certain diseases. If unvaccinated, they will be denied entry to those countries. Eg: Yellow fever vaccine for Brazil, Africa.
Fatality

An illness could turn fatal for a healthy child if he/she is not immunized. Children are very vulnerable at the early stages of their life, they develop immunity over time. For serious diseases, vaccines help create the immunity and provide the defence needed. So immunize your child on time. Do read up about the negative effects of not vaccinating a child and exposing him to vaccine-treatable diseases. Diseases such as whooping-cough or pertussis is a very dangerous. Diphtheria is in the news in our country because the past week the disease proved fatal for 5 children, for no fault of theirs. Had they been vaccinated, the story would have never made headlines. If parents feel vaccines will result in some reaction in the body, kindly note that there is no risk of any reaction. The vaccine is perfectly safe to be given to infants and children.

Your child is important. Why put them at risk?


Protecting your children's health is of prime importance. That is why vaccination or immunization is the more preferred choice for many parents. People do have doubts, they read and consult doctors and well-read people and they do take the right decision to immunize. Immunization during childhood protects your child from as many as 14 severe diseases.



Make the right choice, if in doubt ask and find out more about it and clarify your confusions. Vaccination is a powerful tool that will save you and your child. Choose wisely, live well.

 

References:

Immunize For Good

Vaccinate Your Baby

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Choose


Hridya Anand

by Hridya Anand

A biochemist by education who could never put what she studied to good use, finally found GetDoc as a medium to do what she loved - bring information to people using a forum that is dedicated to all things medical. View all articles by Hridya Anand.




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