Vaccination, Optional or Necessary?

on January 29, 2020 / by

Vaccination, Optional or Necessary? -

The imperative question isn’t what to expect when you are expecting but more so what to expect when the baby arrives. My personal experience has been a roller coaster ride; for with my daughter I had an easy-breezy pregnancy and a very difficult first year; but with my son, the pregnancy was very tough and the first year has been a easygoing. While taking care of myself and getting back to my pre-pregnancy health, my utmost priority then and now has been keeping my babies healthy and safe. 

However, I’ve noticed that a new parent often keeps a close eye on the development milestones of the baby but put 'Vaccines' on the back burner, not realising that it is one of the most effective and simple ways to help a newborn’s immune system recognise and fight pathogens, keep safe and prevent diseases they cause; to grow and develop well. 

Even the World Health Organisation has been pushing vaccination programs since the early ’70s and finally, in 2019 it estimated that around 116 million infants worldwide received vaccines against more than 25 debilitating, life-threatening diseases; such as measles, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, meningitis, influenza, tetanus and typhoid. However, even today nearly 20 million infants worldwide miss out on vaccinations putting them and others at risk of serious diseases, death, disability and ill-health.

The numbers sure are staggering, but honestly, at one point in time, I was a parent never on the fence about vaccinations, because I asked far too many questions; all to the relevant people… and it all collectively helped me decide to follow the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) recommended Immunization Schedule for children aged 0 through 18 years and I have been on-point with my paediatrician’s recommendations. 

However, I am sure there will be many who are in a similar catch-22 situation and hence I’m sharing a few crucial and important points that stirred me in the right direction. 

Infant immunization is one of the most crucial steps to protect and safeguard a baby’s health as vaccines offer protection from infection that lowers the risk of disease as the immune system is already acclimatised against the pathogens, protection to community as immunizing your child not only protects her but also prevents widespread outbreaks and protection for future as vaccines help eradicate the infection. 

Vaccines go through vigorous research and trial periods before being locally available.Pharmaceutical companies invest time and effort in the process, and various industry bodies approve these vaccinations only after thorough due diligence, as the safety of a child is paramount. However, to be assured lookout for the WHO pre-qualification of the vaccine, as the world body approves immunization vaccines after they are proven on efficacy, potency and thermo-stability.

It is indeed incorrect to assume that vaccines shots are painless, but the pain is only momentary. However, the aftereffect of vaccines such as fever, soreness, etc can be quite taxing especially for an infant. But advanced technology has made it possible for vaccines to be pain-less which contain fewer antigens and thus very few painful after-effects. That means these injections are not pain-free, but the pain & discomfort are much lower. 

The list of recommended vaccines in the first 12 months of a baby’s life is long and thus doctors and paediatricians opt for combination or multi-vaccines. Studies show that vaccines when given together offer the same protection with lesser pricks and lower hospital visits. The most commonly used multi-vaccine globally is the DTP that protects against 6 major childhood diseases such as Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus Influenza B, and Hepatitis B.

For both my children I wasn’t shy of asking questions about the brand, the product, the pros and cons and more. But I learnt that the enormous protection vaccines provide certainly outweigh the minor side-effects. Be an informed parent, up #YourCareQuotient for your baby’s long-lasting good health. 

Until next time,
~ Heena
This article is written in partnership with Sanofi Pasteur India to create awareness about Vaccinations. The views expressed are independent and unbiased observations made and Sanofi Pasteur India bears no responsibility for the same. For a detailed disclaimer please Click Here

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  1. The amount of research that goes into making a vaccine available to humans is beyond our imagination... so the very fact that parents sit on the fence about it is extremly thoughtless... It is not a choice to make, it is a decision made for you; Vaccination is a Necessity! But here is an article to make up your mind.

  2. I feel vaccinations should never be optional as doctors, scientists and researchers put in so much work to create these for the betterment of humankind.

  3. There is no question about the importance of vaccinations. I truly believe that the average age has increased primarily due to vaccinations provided at the time of birth and the initial growing years.

  4. Vaccinations are essential and every parent knows this truth. Any one who thinks vaccinations can be optional are nothing but playing with the life of their child.

  5. An article that is such a much-needed read for all parents, I sure am sharing this with all my friends who are new parents.

  6. It is sheer stupidity to assume that vaccinations are optional. As a mom to two kids I ensure all their vaccinations are done timely and from a reputed company and doctor.