Friday, November 15
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In defense of vaccination: There’s no defense required!!!

Since the discovery of the vaccine for smallpox by Edward Jenner back in 1796, vaccination has been perceived as a boon in tackling infectious diseases. So why are we hearing in the media that vaccines are now losing credibility??


The statistics very clearly point out that there is a gradual decline in vaccination the western world. In Britain for example,

The proportion of children who had received their first dose of the MMR (measles mumps and rubella) vaccine slipped to 91.9 per cent in 2015-16, from 92.7 percent two years before. In Urban areas with a significantly large lower-income group and in places where people from ethnic minority live, this percentage is as low as 80. Things are same even in the USA. In states like California, Seattle, and Oregon there is a very dramatic decline in the kindergarten children who undergo vaccination for measles and polio. So why is this happening???


Over the years there has been a rise in the feeling that vaccination does no good. Since parents take decisions for their children many choose some other way to immunize their kids and some chose no vaccinization at all. There are also attempt being made trying to show that vaccination can actually have adverse effects. These accusations are backed by trying to produce a link between vaccination and occurrence of some less understood disease like Autism or infertility. There is a whole group of anti-waxers who try to make claims like this and similar. While we will examine the validity of their claims it is important to mention that they have managed to convince many parents that vaccination is no good! According to a report, A measles outbreak hit the Midwestern state of Minnesota, with over 50 cases being reported. This is much surprising as American doctors believed that Measles have been controlled in the USA since the year 2000. There was an attempt to link measles vaccine MMR and autism. So one wonders, are these claims really true???


One major study involving 95,000 American children was released in 2015. It found no harmful link between the MMR vaccine and ASD, even in children already at higher risk for ASD. Not only this, the evidence for vaccines being useful is overwhelming. Both smallpox and chickenpox and now in poliovirus infection have been irradiated globally mainly because of the advancement and availability of vaccines even across the poorest parts of the world. Not just to the diseases that have been eradicated, even some prevailing ones, like for instance the Human papillomavirus (HPV) whose prevalence is down 64% in the USA. This Virus which is known to cause warts in various body parts according to a study was only controlled after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a vaccination program. It is not just about HPV either, an illustrated diagram presented below (Figure 1) shows how vaccines have helped over decades in controlling infectious diseases.




“Vaccines are amongst the simplest and most cost-effective public health measures that we have and continue to save countless lives, ” said Professor Peter Openshaw, President of the British Society for Immunology.


In a recent article in the Times of India actress and social activist Shabana Azmi reiterated her own work for the polio vaccination campaign in 1986. She mentions how all sorts of rumors were flowing around back then. These were allegations of targeted attempt by the government to inhibit the population growth among marginalized sections amongst others. Her work in a door to door counseling helped and this led to India being certified as ‘polio-free’ by the WHO in 2014 which is a remarkable achievement for the children.


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One can see that the same is being done now by the anti-vaccination campaign and that we should not fall into the trap and vaccinate our children so that they live a life they deserve to.







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