Childhood vaccination may seem overwhelming for any new parent. But what is important to know are the benefits of vaccination that not only protect our children from life-threatening diseases but also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing the risk of diseases that can be contagious and harmful.
When I became a blessed mother of twins, my husband and I weren’t very sure about their vaccination. We wanted our babies to be safe and healthy but administrating painful injections to such tiny souls and watching them cry their lungs out was something we were quite apprehensive about. Additionally, we heard a lot of contradictory views about how immunization could have harmful effects on kids and lead to long-term ailments. This scared us further and added to our confusion. But instead of believing in whatever information was passed on to us, we chose to do our research and speak to our healthcare expert. I still remember when we consulted our pediatrician about this; he replied with a very simple statement – Prevention Is Better Than Cure. Stating some important facts and figures, he explained to us how it was possible to eradicate a disease like polio completely from our country, all thanks to Vaccines!
What Are Vaccines?
“A vaccine is a dead, a weakened version, or part of the germ that causes the disease in question”.
When babies are given a vaccine, they are injected with a weakened form of a disease. This triggers their body’s immune response and helps it to produce antibodies to that particular ailment. If they are ever again exposed to the actual disease-causing organism, their immune system is prepared enough to fight the infection. In simple terms, a vaccine will usually prevent the onset of a disease or else reduce its severity.
Why Should We Immunize Our Kids?
My husband and I read a lot about vaccinations on portals like WHO and we came across some very pertinent information that helped us understand why it is important to immunize our kids.
- Vaccination protects children from serious complicated illness/ diseases like polio, measles, whooping cough, etc. that can be life-threatening.
- Babies are born with protection against some diseases because of the antibodies passed from the mother to them. However, this protection is temporary and the immunity goes away during the first year of life. If an unvaccinated baby is exposed to a disease germ, his/her body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Hence, vaccinations are important as they help to stimulate the body’s immunity.
- Vaccinations are effective. They are given to children after scientific research by scientists and health care professionals.
- Vaccination has successfully eradicated epidemic diseases like small pox. Hence, its importance cannot be ignored or neglected.
- Vaccination prevents spreading of diseases to others around.
- If exposure to a disease occurs in a surrounding area there is little or no risk of an epidemic when people have been immunized.
- Vaccines are given on a recommended schedule by the doctor. Some are given for certain situations while some protect children when they are older. Usually a record of vaccination given to kids is maintained by the healthcare provider.
- Organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly support protecting children with recommended vaccinations.
(The Champa Tree explains immunization through a lovely video. Check it out here)
Today, vaccines are considered safe. As with any medication, they may have side effects like soreness or low grade fever, but the important thing to know is that the benefits of vaccination outweighs the possible side effects.
If you are a new parent, I would suggest you to gain accurate information and knowledge about vaccinations and then make an informed decision. Over the years, a lot of controversies have been generated regarding their safety. However, no convincing evidence of harm or scientific research has been found in this regard. Do not simply believe in any random information; rather, do your research and speak to your health care expert who can guide you well.
My kids are 3 years old now and have been vaccinated with all the necessary vaccinations like BSG, DTP, MMR, etc. And I am glad we took this decision of immunizing them. As parents we always wish the best for our babies and aim to provide them with all the facilities. Be it buying a car seat or investing in an insurance policy – we do everything to keep them safe. Then why ignore vaccinations! In fact one of the best ways to protect our children and help them have a safe and healthy future is to make sure they have all their vaccinations.
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Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur. However, the views and opinions expressed in this post are of the author’s alone.