Childhood Vaccinations-Why Are They So Important?
In a developing country like India, where majority of the population resides in the rural areas, it is essential that healthcare services and preventive medicine be easily available without social and economic barriers. Public awareness is now, thankfully being spread regarding many grave diseases like polio and tuberculosis, with an aim of reducing the population being affected by such conditions.
The steep difference of the rich and the poor in India is still prevalent, and often, it is assumed that the rich rarely fall prey to diseases due to their easy availability of medical help. However, this is not the case when it comes to immunization. Children in the rural areas may be deprived of proper vaccinations, but in the urban areas, due to widespread awareness and overexertion of healthcare facilities, overdose of vaccines are reported, which is equally hazardous to health.
Mass vaccination programmes are now rapidly introduced in small towns and villages, and overall, India has benefited a lot by these initiatives. However, there's a lot of work yet to be done as India still remains one of the four polio-endemic countries in the world.
In a country like India, where religion and culture play a huge role in shaping an individual's future, age-old sciences like Ayurveda and Naturopathy are prominent ways to treat an individual. Die hard followers of these fields of medicine, however, have now developed strange beliefs. They claim that childhood diseases are simply nature's way to boost a child's immunity. Furthermore, they also believe that natural immunity is achieved by surviving these childhood diseases.
In contrast, the urban areas face a problem of plenty. People who can afford good vaccination services ensure the best for their children; however, there is always a risk of an expired vaccine, or an unsterilized needle. Imported vaccines are now easily available in metro cities; however, they are not always effective for Indians. Imported vaccines for pneumonia and prevention of cervical cancer have been ineffective for Indians, and there is an increased risk of development of severe side-effects.
Vaccine care: Standard care rules, if not undertaken, can have devastating effects. For example-
• Reconstituted measles vaccine must be stored in ice and used within 4 hours. If this protocol isn't followed correctly, the child may suffer from life-threatening side-effects.
• Anaphylactic shock, an allergic condition, occurs atleast once in every 50 million doses administered.
• Whooping cough can cause neurological complications like brain damage, seizure, and even death.
• The success rate of a polio vaccine is around 90%
• 70-80% children getting vaccinated for whooping cough, do not attain the disease
Though there exists a very tiny risk of attaining side-effects of the vaccine, it is still way better than leaving your child exposed to the innumerable pathogens in the environment every single day. An unvaccinated child is more likely to become infected by these life-threatening conditions.
A healthy child responds better to vaccines, which is why, diet and nutrition is of utmost importance.