Vaccination: Doctors spell the BENEFITS Vs RISKS for your child
In the early 2000’s, a lot of my classmates missed weeks of school when Chicken Pox happened. And some of them happened to miss their annual exams too. Back in the day, it gave me jitters as I delved into thinking what if I were the next. Well, honestly, I wondered if it ever did, whether my scars would go. Because, for some of my friends, it was hard. Another instance was when I was on the verge of developing Typhoid. That occurred a few months after I moved to India. The numbing ache & more than a month of missing college, only made me wish if a vaccination could have prevented it.
I was a 90’s kid & vaccination was quite limited to the basic ones like the BCG, DPT, Polio immunization etc. Laymen parents (non-medicos) barely even knew about the Varicella virus that caused Chicken Pox. Malaria & Whooping cough weren’t uncommon either. Nevertheless, times have changed, thanks to medical advancements, W.R.T vaccination/immunization schedules. But the mindsets of a lot of people still haven’t.
It’s 2019 & you still stumble over online & offline discussions between parents, experts & elders about giving your children vaccination. Well, I just realized that when in 2013, my daughter was due for her ROTAVIRUS shots, I was questioned why it was necessary at all. I was told that all babies of my age survived totally fine without these ‘NEW’ vaccines & were asked to speculate for myself if these ‘unknown’ shots could have any side effects. The same went for the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, Typhoid, Varicella & the Pentavalent shots. People warned me that these newly developed vaccinations were nothing but a million-dollar pharmaceutical marketing scam that thrived upon the fear of parents!
Specially, I was countered about the ‘irrelevance’ of the Varicella (Chicken Pox) vaccine, which was again backed by a very senior doctor’s inputs. Apparently, he was a family doctor of our acquaintance & he believed that contracting Chicken Pox helped develop ‘Natural Immunity’ & that a vaccination against it was totally unnecessary. The same thoughts of parents hold true about the MMR (Malaria-Measles-Rubella) vaccination.
Well, I totally saw the vanity in this school of thought when I myself got infected with Chicken Pox in 2016 (at the age of 26!). My fear came true, very late though. I was working then & this quite affected my work although my entitled leave saved me. And subsequently a week after I recovered, my husband was infected too. Moreover, he suffered a much pronounced impact.
So, here, 3 doctors, Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan, Dr.Surbhi Prapanna & Dr.Shivangi Aggarwal, share their valuable insights & validations about getting our children immunized. Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan also discusses the bubble of myths surrounding the vaccination agenda, with special reference to Autism & the entire Anti-Vaxxer’s propaganda & also tells us about the importance of HPV vaccination for females.
Why Vaccinate you Child?
Dr. Radhakrishnan in his entirely brilliant article dedicated to the praxis of Anti-Vaccination (Anti-Vaxxers), propagandists tells us how these specific groups have been thriving by propagating queer myths to instill doubts & apprehension in the minds of parents about getting their children vaccinated against a particular disease.
Even in the US, there’s a substantial percentage of parent population which believes that the MMR vaccine is a prominent cause for Autism, respiratory disorders & reduced immunity in kids.
In the retrospective, it was in 1998 that the notion of Autism, Respiratory diseases & diminished immunity started to be associated with the MMR vaccine. This theory was released by Mr. Andrew Wakefield & it has been universally proven to be invalid & has been retracted now.
Sadly in the USA, between 2001-2015 (after Wakefield’s theory was published), 1789 cases of Measles were found, which was a rampant increase from the past statistics. Out of this, almost 70% were found to be un-vaccinated.
Hence, the Wakefield Fraud has been regarded as one of the biggest scams in medical history till date. Nevertheless, even today repercussions are seen in a huge number of people who are against the immunization of children still believing in the theory that was totally decimated long ago.
The HPV immunization for FEMALES
Cervical Cancer being one of the leading causes of cancer deaths amongst Indian women is actually a tragic reality. Considering it as one of 2 vaccine preventable cancers in the world (the other being Hepatitis B), it is all the more tragic when you consider that 1 in 4 annual cervical deaths in the world take place in India.
Like with most vaccines, there are plenty of reasons given & concerns raised as to why the public is scared to take these vaccines. In the end, it comes down to awareness & being informed.
Issues of expenses & efficacy should be the primary concern of the government & the concerned health bodies, ensuring that the public is provided these vaccines safely at normal rates.
“Vaccination has always been a quite controversial topic in medical history. And different practitioners have different opinions on the same. In fact, the differentiation of opinion is not only limited to practitioners but it equally applies to parents as well.”
Dr.Prapanna personally believes that vaccination is one of the greatest achievements in history of medical science. Edward Jenner is considered as the founder of Vaccinology since 1796 after he inoculated a 13 year old boy with the attenuated Vaccinia virus for Cowpox & demonstrated the immunity to Small Pox.
Here’s what she says about the 2 major myths linked with Vaccinations here:
Myth: Natural infection provides better Immunity
There is high risk in this assumption. These infections could lead to serious life threatening diseases; like a natural Polio infection could cause permanent paralysis. I have personally witnessed such cases, specially in rural areas, where due to lack of awareness about the right vaccination process, several kids suffer from paralysis or other serious disorders.
Myth: Vaccination side effects are serious & can cause Autism
Vaccination shots, may cause minor side effects like pain, swelling, mild fever or allergic reactions in some kids. But the entire theory of Autism is largely baseless.
Additionally, as a Homeopathy therapist I strongly uphold the basic theory of vaccination, which is quite similar to the principle of homeopathy. Both work over “Like cures Like”.
Immunizations protect the child and the entire community from serious illnesses. Some prefer to let the child develop natural immunity by getting affected with the disease, especially in chicken pox.
However, sometimes Chicken Pox is more fatal and the child may suffer from its complication, Herpes. Moreover, don’t forget the eradication of small pox and polio in some areas due to the continuous efforts of effective vaccination. Also, if there is an outbreak of the disease, it spreads slowly if majority population is vaccinated.
Therefore, children should be immunized against all fatal diseases prevalent in a particular community.
To know which vaccines are mandatory, always consult a government hospital in your area for the recommended and updated vaccination schedule.
Hence, it’s imperative of the parents of immunized children to bear the responsibility of spreading the right awareness about the benefits of immunization outweighing the minuscule risks posed by certain rumors of spurious contaminated batches of vaccines.
Do share your views about vaccination & the rumors/perils you’ve got to hear about immunizing your children.