Last week, we got a message from my daughter’s school intimating us about a vaccination drive to be held in the school premises for all students, mandatory by the Government of India. As I had anticipated, this led to a big furore in the school groups.
Arguments like “Why this vaccine?” and “Do you know vaccines do more harm than good?” were floating in from all sides.
It made me think – vaccines are not in the same league of everyday household products like toothpaste or soap that companies can advertise on national television with explicit permission from the government. Because these are lifesaving vaccines – they are important for the health of the nation, for the health of the future of this planet.
I am positive we all know about the poliomyelitis virus and how the polio vaccine helped in reducing its occurrence. First world countries have successfully stopped new instances of polio and India is on its way.
People traveling to tropical areas of Africa are required to take the yellow fever vaccination which protects them against the fatal yellow fever virus.
And who can forget smallpox and the havoc it played on the human populace. It was contagious, disfiguring and often fatal. Thankfully, it was eradicated in 1980, the first ever disease to be eradicated worldwide by the use of a vaccine. I was given the small pox vaccine as a new born, but my daughter 30 years later wasn’t – she didn’t need it. Doesn’t that say something about the efficacy of vaccines?
When we have so many examples before us that prove how important vaccines are, why do we make such a hue and cry over new vaccinations?
These vaccines are not just made randomly available in the market. WHO prequalified vaccines are assessed and evaluated by the WHO (the World Health Organisation) for their quality and safety. This assessment is done in order to ensure that the vaccines used in immunization drives are safe and effective. Furthermore, these vaccines are also continuously monitored and reassessed for quality. WHO not only retains the responsibility for ensuring that vaccines meet the requirements for global supply through the UN but also their suitability for use in target countries.
If a vaccine comes with a WHO prequalification tag, I as a parent I have zero doubts about its efficacy. It means it’s good and I can trust it.
Companies invest money, resources and efforts in their research on vaccines to develop new, revised and evolved products to protect the human race. For example, there are combination vaccines available that can fight up to 6 diseases with one injection. This means that for my daughter, I don’t have to worry about a whole host of diseases like Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus Influenza B, and Hepatitis B – fatal diseases that previous generations were susceptible to.
Can you imagine all these dangerous diseases and infections and just 1 single vaccine to tackle them? That’s the evolution of medical science for you.
On the day my daughter was born, I was given a list of vaccinations – and that list has only grown, mind you, but I never once objected, never questioned the doctor. He has the responsibility of ensuring that my daughter is immunized against deadly viruses, and I trust him. I rest my case and urge all parents to trust their doctors, the Government of India and WHO. Trust vaccines, trust WHO.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger/ third party This is a part of public awareness initiative supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health related information.