It has been well established time and again that vaccinations impact infants’ immune system and help them develop a defense mechanism against several diseases. Some of these diseases are known to be even deadly.
If I am to believe my mother’s account of the time when they were kids, the infant mortality rate due to life threatening diseases among kids was very high. She recounts that things improved during the time I was born. According to her, a major factor that contributed to this was the introduction of many new vaccinations. Today, if we hardly see any rates of infant mortality due to preventable diseases, all the credit goes to vaccines. Vaccines have made some several life-threatening diseases almost non-existent. I tried to dig deep and find out the figures behind her observations. And what I learnt was very encouraging.
Statistics state that the infant mortality rate in India in 1969 was 144.7 per 1000 births, which reduced to 29.9 per 1000 births in 2018. (https://knoema.com/atlas/India/Infant-mortality-rate) . The decline can majorly be attributed to better neo-natal care and wide-spread vaccinations against deadly diseases such as Measles,Encephalitis (swelling of brain), Whooping cough (pertussis) and Typhoid. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7182351)
To recount my own experience, when I made visits to the pediatrician for my kids’ vaccinations, I tried to learn more about how the vaccines worked and kept the vaccinated person safe. The vaccines are weakened or some parts of germscausing the disease.These germs are injected into the body and this activates the immune system of the child. In other words, the vaccine helps the body develop immunity from the disease. Whenever the child is exposed to these same diseases in the future, his body is equipped to fight them.
Some parents worry about the minor discomfort that babies go through because of the vaccines. There may be soreness at the injection site, slight redness or swelling, mild fever or more than usual crying in the case of little babies. All these last only for a few hours and last for no longer than a couple of days. There is nothing to be worried about in most cases. If you are very concerned, you can talk to the pediatrician who will tell you various ways in which you can ease your baby’s discomfort.
It is important that you follow your baby’s vaccination schedule. Sometimes, parents delay vaccination due to factors such as fever or teething which leaves the baby irritable. The best thing is to talk to the pediatrician who would tell you what to do. In most cases, vaccination is not delayed.
Vaccines not only prevent your child from various communicable and potentially deadly diseases but also help develop ‘herd immunity’. This means that when all the children in a community or across a large section of population are vaccinated and protected from a certain disease, there is no chance of one case spreading the disease to the rest.
Innovation and advancement in technology has led to better vaccines that can even be administered in combination,thereby leading to fewer number of shots and protection from multiple diseases at the same time.
With so many advantages and statistical proof of protection, there is no way that a parent should neglect vaccination for their child. I am thankful for the fact we have the means to stay protected from deadly diseases and keep our children safe so that they can have a happy and healthy childhood.
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Click here to read more about vaccinations approved by WHO.