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Everyone has a dream of changing the world, but what if changing the world starts from changing our mindset and acting on what is important? The debate on vaccine has been ongoing for years even though time and again literature has proven that vaccines do work.
We do not see any case of smallpox now because people then decided that they need to end the disease by vaccination and that was the death of smallpox. The same is true today, there are many diseases that pose a threat to our children and the community too. Diseases can be of viral or bacterial origin. Therefore, vaccination is of greater importance now than ever with the increasing resistance to antibiotic and the slow discovery of new antibiotics.
Vaccines play a vital role as it is one of the most effective preventive healthcare measures. The number of vaccine-preventable illnesses in the United States decreased by more than 90 percent after routine childhood immunizations were introduced. Vaccines do not just benefit the immunized child but also the community, what we call “herd immunity”. A child that is too young to be vaccinated or have contraindications for vaccination have no choice but to rely on others who can be immunized for protection. Why? Simply because a large immunized community will naturally decrease the risk of disease transmission.
Recently the Malaysian government has made pneumococcal vaccine part of the national routine vaccination program. It was a bold move and a much needed one as the mortality and morbidity brought about by pneumococcus infection is alarming for those below 2 years old and more than 60 years old. Pneumococcal infection is a bacterial infection from Streptococcus pneumoniae that causes pneumonia, bacterial meningitis and sepsis.
The general timeline ranges from birth up till 15 years old, but vaccines can still be administered after the ages mentioned depending on the type of protection for at risk groups such as the elderly or people who are constantly exposed needs a booster.
BCG - A vaccine for Tuberculosis.
Hepatitis B - A vaccine to prevent hepatitis B.
DTaP - a vaccine for three different bacteria [diphteria, tetanus, and pertussis (whoopoing cough)]
Hib - A vaccine against Haemophilus influenza type B
IPV - Inactivated polio vaccine. A vaccine to prevent polio
MMR - a vaccine to prevent measles, mumps and rubella (German measles)
JE - A vaccine against Japanese Encephalitis (only in Sarawak)
Pneumococcal - A vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae infections*
*To be included as part of the national routine vaccination program in Malaysia’s Budget 2020.
If vaccines bring about a great deal of benefits, why are there still doubts about it? The common myth with vaccine has always been autism. However, there is no proof of a correlation between vaccination and autism at all. Some parents are naturally concerned about the administration of multiple vaccines at once, but being exposed does not weaken your child’s immune system, they will still be able to generate an immune response to the vaccines administered. Other concerns would be if it is too painful for my baby or child or if they could take multiple vaccines at once. If these are your concerns, talk to your doctor about it instead of assuming and avoiding vaccination for your child. In any case, do consult your doctor and talk through your questions and concerns. Your child growing up well and healthy without suffering from a preventable disease because they were vaccinated will be their way of saying thanks to you.
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