A few years ago, I came across this anti-vaxxers group. Now, the anti-vaxxers are people who are against vaccinations and don’t believe in immunizing themselves or their offsprings. It is through them that I got to know that vaccinations can lead to autism. It is not a light claim. But I couldn’t have stopped immunizing my child just because a Facebook group made this claim. Not only this, there were other doubts I had around vaccinations. So, I inquired with my daughter’s pediatrician. Let me tell you what I learnt from him.
Vaccines lead to autism
The doctor said that vaccinations and autism have no relation whatsoever. He further elaborated that this fear that vaccines increase risk of autism spread due to a study published in 1997 by Andrew Wakefield, a British surgeon. It was suggested that the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was increasing autism in British children. However, the paper was completely discredited due to errors, ethical violations and financial conflicts of interest. Dr. Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license.
I was satisfied with this explanation and left the anti-vaxxers group immediately.
Here are a few more doubts I had around vaccinations and what explanations I got from the doctor.
Several vaccines weaken the immune system
I remember the doctor administering her 3 vaccines at a time. Of course, that didn’t go down very well with me and I raised the question if my daughter would be able to handle so many vaccines at a time.
He assured me that yes, an infant could handle several vaccines at a time. The cells in the immune system are constantly renewing and replenishing, Also, babies are exposed to thousands of bacteria and viruses every day; hence they cannot be overloaded with the vaccines. Furthermore, more vaccines at a time reduces the amount of injections a child needs.
Vaccines contain preservatives
Vaccines contain thimerosal as a preservative. Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that has been used in multi-dose vials (vials containing more than one dose) of medicines and vaccines. Thimerosal is added to these vials to prevent the growth of germs like bacteria and fungi at the time of administration. However, thimerosal is quickly eliminated by the body and hence is less likely to cause harm.
Upon talking to the doctor I found out that there was no data that suggested that vaccines with preservatives cause harm. However, if I was so skeptical, I could opt for preservative-free vaccines. Yes, there are preservative-free vaccines in the market. Read this below article to know more about it.
Vaccines will give you the disease against which you are getting vaccinated
It is a common misconception amongst parents that vaccines can cause mild symptoms resembling those of the illness they are protecting against. A small percentage in which these symptoms occur are experiencing a body’s immune response to the vaccine, not to the disease.
One case till date has been recorded where an oral polio vaccine was shown to cause vaccine-associated poliomyelitis. It could have been because the polio vaccine schedule was not properly followed by the child’s parents.
You can study more about the case by clicking on this link – https://www.virology.ws/2014/10/08/oral-polio-vaccine-associated-paralysis-in-a-child-despite-previous-immunization-with-inactivated-virus/
It was a one-off case and since then, more stringent government regulations are followed.
We don’t need polio vaccine as it’s eradicated
It’s true that it’s been many years since India has seen a fresh case of poliomyelitis virus. However, deadly diseases do tend to come back when the immunization rate drops. Also, polio virus has not been totally eradicated from the world; countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are still suffering from it. Only by making sure that everyone is vaccinated, that we can keep vaccine-preventable diseases from coming back. Hence, make sure you take your child to the nearest polio booth on the National Polio Day organized by the Government of India.
Painless vaccines are less effective
It is believed that painless or less painful vaccines lack whole antigen cells, hence they have lower antibody production and provide lesser immunity. My doctor advised me to go for painless vaccines and I agreed wholeheartedly. Don’t go on hearsay, trust your doctor and do as he says. It’s the best for your child.
While my doctor cleared all these doubts that I had around vaccinations, he also told me something worth thinking. He said, “Some of the deadly diseases like small pox have been eradicated thanks to vaccines and we are safe and well because of MMR, Polio, and such vaccines. Vaccines do not harm your child; they in fact protect their life.” I was reminded of his words in the current scenario where the major countries in the world are racing against time to develop a vaccination for the deadly Corona virus. It more than proves how important vaccinations are to the human populace.
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