THE IMPORTANCE OF CHILDHOOD VACCINATION
I was watching the Madam Secretary series the other night and this particular episode dealt on whether or not to have our children vaccinated or not. Do you recall the recent furore in the US regarding this exact topic? It was called or is still called “the anti-vaccine movement“. Their mission, to discredit theories that blamed vaccines for autism and other ills. This anti-vaccine movement has been around for years and their argument is that the US government has no right to force parents to vaccinate their kids. I really don’t understand how parents are even questioning whether to vaccinate their kids or not!
WHY CHILDHOOD VACCINATION IS IMPORTANT?
If you’re still wondering if you should vaccinate your child or not, know that one of the reasons why vaccinations are encouraged is because it stimulates the immune system to provide protection against infections such as:
Polio; caused by germs (polioviruses) that attack nerves, causing weakness or paralysis of the leg and/or arm and if severe, may involve respiratory or breathing muscles.
Measles; causes high fever and a rash and can lead to diarrhoea and dehydration, deafness, eye complications, pneumonia, brain damage and even death.
Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib); a serious illness that mainly affects children under the age of five years. Death from Hib disease is common in children under the age of one.
Hepatitis B; an infection of the liver that can cause liver damage, liver cancer and death.
Pertussis (whooping cough); starts with a headache, fever and cough. The strenuous coughing bouts make it hard for a child to eat, drink or even breathe.
Tetanus (lockjaw); when a toxin produced by a tetanus germ from the soil enters a cut or wound. The germ can cause muscle spasms, breathing and heart problems, and death. The chances of dying from this condition are very high.
Diphtheria; a dangerous bacterial disease, which makes it difficult to breathe. Children who survive diphtheria disease suffer permanent damage such as blindness, deafness and brain damage.
Tuberculosis (TB) Meningitis; a serious disease that can affect people of all ages. Those that get TB suffer from coughing for a long period of time, chest pain, sweating at night, weight loss and even death if left untreated. In young children, the TB germ may infect the brain and cause meningitis, or it could also enter the blood and spread to other parts of the body. TB can kill young people. The best protection for young children against diseases caused by the TB germ is the BCG vaccine.
The South African Department of Health strongly recommends parents to protect their children from infectious diseases by getting them vaccinated from birth and suggests following the above vaccine schedule until the age of 12. Immunisations are safe. Although side effects following immunisations do occur, they are usually mild and clear up quickly. If living in South Africa and you can’t afford to have your child vaccinated, the government provides free vaccinations at its clinics. There’s no excuse!
Remember that when you’re having your child vaccinated you’re not doing that to only protect your own child but indirectly you’re also protecting other humans too. In the event that you encounter an environment that is contaminated with, say measles, the vaccine provides a level of protection for you and your family, reducing the impact of the infection. Vaccination is acknowledged as the most successful means of preventing the suffering and death associated with life-threatening infectious diseases.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION
According to a recent WHO Press Release , measles cases spiked in 2017, as multiple countries experienced severe and protracted outbreaks of the disease. Why? It’s due to the gaps in vaccination. Parents refusing to have their kids vaccinated for fear of them being affected by Autism. The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination is NOT linked to autism. Recent studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine strongly support that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, nor does it trigger autism in susceptible children.
WHO lists vaccine hesitancy – the refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines – as 1/10 issues that will demand attention from WHO and health partners in 2019, threatening to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases to date.
Did you know:
- Immunization prevents between 2-3 million deaths annually
- More children are vaccinated today than ever before
- Vaccination has almost eliminated meningitis in Africa
- The Measles global death rate has reduced by 84%
- The world is close to eradicating Polio
- Vaccination serves as the first level of defence against antimicrobial resistance
Do you really want the return of these diseases that have almost been eradicated?