Children are the centre of parents’ universe and as caregivers, we aim to do all that is possible to protect our child. One such critical aspect of protection is vaccination. Vaccinating the child against possible diseases helps to ensure a child’s safety and health. It is imperative that we, as parents, do what is required to safeguard them, so that they have a healthy start in life by receiving all vaccinations as recommended by the paediatrician. Seven critical reasons that establish the need to vaccinate your child are:
Vaccinations save lives: Immunizations or vaccinations have been curated to protect children from contacting multiple life-threatening diseases. During earlier times, when the medicine was not advanced, disease outbreaks would claim lives of thousands of children; however, with due advancements in the medical field, vaccinations to protect children from such fatal diseases were introduced. As of today, several diseases that had in the earlier times claimed several lives are now eradicated – such as smallpox, polio, rinderpest, hookworm, etc. Moreover, vaccinations also tend to minimize the chances of children contracting severe diseases such as Hepatitis A & B, chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, flu, rotavirus, etc. today vaccines can protect against more diseases than ever before.
Vaccines are safe and effective: There is a notion in some parents who believe vaccines to be ineffective or particularly unsafe instead of their actual opposite functionality. Vaccines are curated after years of pioneering scientific research and are tested before being given to the babies. Thus, vaccines are 100% per cent safe and also very effective. However, some minor side effects can be experienced on the site of the injection such as redness, itching, pain, tenderness or swelling but that eventually fades in a day or two. Some children may also get fever post-vaccination, which is very typical and should return to normal easily and shortly. These side effects outweigh the diseases these vaccines protect your children against.
Vaccines protect your family, as well as other families: Vaccines tend to not only protect and safeguard your child and family but also several other families and their children who could have contacted the disease because it was contagious. Even after the effectiveness of vaccines, there are still outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, which is basically because of areas which have lower vaccination rate. This may be either because of lack of knowledge or in some cases, even because the recipient of the vaccination is either too young or has a compromised immune system and hence, cannot receive the vaccine. Thus, in such conditions, these individuals become dependent on people around them to be vaccinated so that the disease does not spread. Hence, all those who can and are able to get vaccinations for their children must do so.
Vaccination saves time and money: If children are vaccinated and protected against diseases, they tend to stay healthy and carry on routine activities enabling the parents to focus on work and other considerations. Moreover, if a child is not vaccinated and is affected by such a disease, it would demand a lot of time and money on the part of the parents, not to forget the mental agony a parent goes through. Hospital costs, loss of work medications, etc. will create a lot of burden on the family. Vaccines help children stay safe, grow and thrive!
Immunizations protect generations: Vaccinations tend to prevent harmful diseases that can also claim the lives of children. There have been many vaccinations which have reduced or eradicated the disease completely today, such as smallpox. Children today do not receive the vaccine for smallpox because it no longer exists. Similarly, getting out children vaccinated today completely as per immunizations suggested by the paediatricians will help the future children to remain disease-free.
Vaccinations protect children even while travelling: Getting the children all vaccinations as per the schedule and specific vaccinations if travelling to a disease-prone country can ensure their safety and good health. Travelling to another country does make you children vulnerable to a lot of diseases of the country concerned; hence, to ensure that travelling is smooth and the child is protected against disease – immunizations must be taken very seriously. Before travelling, check for the diseases prevalent in the country and accordingly ask the paediatrician for the concerned vaccine, if any. Also, the vaccine chart for children approved by The Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) takes into consideration globally prevalent diseases too.
Vaccination is a public duty: Though vaccination has led to declining of multiple diseases. Yet, diseases such as measles, mumps, whooping cough, etc. are a threat and can result in an outbreak if vaccines to prevent these are not given to children. These diseases can result in serious complications such as amputation of arm or leg, paralysis, hearing loss, brain damage or even death. Hence, it becomes the duty of every citizen to ensure they get their child vaccinated to prevent not only the child but also all other children who can contract the disease if not prevented.
That said, the advantages of vaccination significantly outweigh the disadvantages. Also, today, with better education and healthcare opportunities, the rate of children getting immunizations in India has increased. However, there is still a long way to go to ensure a healthy India.