Why do we need to vaccinate our children?

Vaccination is given to newborns. Do all the parents give their children vaccination? How informed are the parents regarding the effects of the diseases which could be preventable? BCG, MMR, Polio, DPT, and Hepatitis B are the vaccination which is minimum vaccination which should be given to the child according to the guideline of WHO.

Introduction - the necessity of vaccination

When a child is born, the doctor recommends vaccination, but the parents look at the child helplessly and think whether it is really necessary to vaccinate them.

Keeping up to the international standards, why is it that India is not reaching a milestone of complete vaccination? Is this an issue we should be concerned with? Dealing with the concern, there are many social factors which come into play. Many parents, despite knowing the requisite of vaccination, would not comply with the vaccination schedule which is of grave concern. To prevent parents from falling into fake news propaganda which is spread through the social media, there is a requirement of furnishing comprehensive information regarding the diseases the vaccination would prevent and the deleterious effect of the diseases to their child's life.

It was in the late 19th century with the discovery of the microorganism being the cause of disease and that these could even lead to the death of the people, an idea to prevent the infection and strengthening the human immune system made way for the development of vaccination. Through this, we could save millions of people from dangerous diseases and prevent these diseases from spreading.

When a human body is in contact with a disease-causing microorganism, our body starts preparing antibody. If this antibody is capable to destroy the microorganism we are safe from that disease. But everybody's immune system is not as strong and that is the reason for some of them gets sick faster. Our body, especially that of a newborn, may not be able to stand up against some dangerous diseases as their immune system is still developing. By means of vaccination, we inject a killed or weakened microorganism in our body so that our body can produce an antibody to that disease beforehand without getting infected. The microorganism which we injected into our body as vaccination does not have the capability to produce a disease. In short, we are preparing children to self-fight those dangerous diseases. It was Edward Jenner who produced a vaccination against Small Pox which was a major disease which killed a lot of people. Through the year 164 to 1975 vigorous vaccination campaign against smallpox were conducted and we have cleared smallpox from the world, which should be noted by persons who make false claims in social media against vaccines. Through the vaccination so far, we could curb a lot of epidemics which had been there before.

How dangerous are the diseases which are vaccinated?

BCG vaccine
The vaccine which is given to the newborn is against tuberculosis which most of the parents would be knowing. But a very few have information of the clinical scenario if the newborn is infected with tuberculosis. Primary air borne disease which is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes the droplets disperses in the air and effects an individual with low immunity. A newborn who has come from the protection of the mother's womb is very susceptible to such infection. That is the reason the newborn are vaccinated as soon as the baby is born. There is a mortality rate of 12% if the newborn is infected with tuberculosis. The vaccine should be given to the child as soon as possible after birth or before leaving the hospital.

Polio vaccine
Another vaccine which should be given just after birth. The viral cause of polio was discovered in 1905. The disease affects the brain and nervous system and causes paralysis of the limbs. The vaccine for polio was discovered in 1960. The mortality rate of the disease is 5-10 % in children. After the discovery of polio vaccine the WHO and other agencies have been able to control polio by around 99%.
In a 1988 survey, there were about 3,50,000 polio infected persons while in the year 2016 the number reduced to 37, which is the result of the polio vaccine. The routine of the vaccine is at birth, 6, 10, 14 weeks 3 doses of vaccine and pulse polio vaccine should be given to the children till 5 years.

Hepatitis B vaccine
This is another vaccine which should be administered at birth. The dishes which spread through blood and other body fluids could produce long-standing effects on children. Mainly affecting liver at the later stage could give rise to hepatomegaly and other cancer in the liver.
If a child before 1 year gets infected the chances of complication are 80-90% and if the child gets infected before 6 years the chances are 30-50%. Through the vaccination, we could reduce the incidence of hepatitis B in children to merely 1%. This shows the importance of vaccination for hepatitis B. So at the birth single dose of hepatitis B is given and 6, 10, 14 weeks 3 doses need to be given.

DPT vaccine
This is a vaccine to prevent dangerous diseases like diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. A bacterial infection is the cause of diphtheria which leads to the formation of the membrane in the throat and could lead to breathing difficulty and also heart problems. Though diphtheria could infect an individual at any age an infection at an early age is dangerous. In 2000 teenage children infected with diphtheria is around 30000, out of which 10% of the children it may lead to death. In 2016 through vaccination, we could reduce the number to 7097.

Tetanus is a disease which causes severe muscle contraction in children. Even though it is not communicable it could be prevented by the vaccine. The severity of the disease is more in newborn. According to WHO number of children who died by tetanus in 1988 is 787000 which was reduced by 94 y the use of the vaccine. The vaccine gives to mother during pregnancy is also a crucial factor for the reduction in the tetanus cases.

Pertussis is a disease which infects the lungs. It may lead to difficulty in breathing for about 4-8 weeks. The means of coughing and sneezing the microorganism may spread to others also. According to WHO, 63,000 children have died due to pertussis in 2013.

Parents should give a vaccination for these disease as these diseases are completely preventable. The vaccine is given in 3 doses at 6, 10, 14 months and also at 5 years.

MMR vaccine
Measles is another infection which occurs in children. Fever, cough, cold and small rashes on the skin are a common finding. In one in 10 children it may affect ears and in one in 20 children it may lead to pneumonia. The disease could lead to death in an undernourished child.

Mumps is another disease which could be prevented by the vaccine. The children are seen with fever, headache, body pain and enlargement of the salivary gland. In the case with children under 5 years, 10 % it may affect the brain.

Another viral infection is rubella which also could be prevented with the vaccine. Even though the disease is not serious, if it infects a pregnant mother it could lead to abortion or developmental deformity to the child. The disease is seen mainly in children and young adults that is the reason the vaccine is advised by WHO to be given along Measles vaccine.

These vaccination are given through special programs by the government of India in different government hospitals free of charge. Other diseases which could be prevented by the vaccine are typhoid and chicken pox. There are many misleading news going through media regarding vaccination but don't forget ychildren do need to get vaccinated and also spread the benefits of vaccination to others.


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