Mommy Mundo invited parents like me to one of their Pedtalk series, which talks about the importance of Vaccination and how it would benefit not only the person with vaccination but the people that surrounds him too. Seems timely right? I also noticed the news these days has lots of interviews from doctors regarding vaccination.
Nowadays, even a slight fever could get me worried 100x more than I used to than when Coco was younger. The current outbreak of diseases like Influenza and measles has caused me sleepless nights when Coco was sick recently. I was praying so hard that it wouldn’t be anything severe.
What do I have to thank for? Coco’s well-prepared immune system.
How do we achieve that? Aside from eating healthy, having an ample amount of rest, drinking sufficient glasses of water and vitamins, good hygiene, it is the vaccines that gave him immunity from getting infected from any viral diseases that may come his way.
Our speaker, Dr. Miggy Villanueva, a Fellow in the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, overwhelmed us with heartbreaking statistics of claimed lives pre-vaccine, era as well as the era we are in now – lives that never see the day again due to diseases like polio, diphtheria, mumps, measles in a massive large scale. Reality speaking, these diseases that could have been controlled has claimed more lives that the natural disasters that came our way in the last decades, all combined.
Just imagine the world today is vaccines weren’t invented. I’m quite sure no one would even live up to 100 years old. I’m sure the average life span of a person would be so low. You know why, infectious diseases would just be scattered around and it would be easily caught by everyone. Do we even want that?
These days we here a lot of news about Polio, it is terrifying. From 1955, when the first Polio vaccine was released, it took 50 years to declare Philippines as Polio free, but here we are again, in 2019, as what Dr. Miggy said, “the disease is back, caused by pure sanitation and declining rate of vaccination.” Diseases, even if it has been gone for decades, may come back in our lifetime and the only reason is because of the decline in vaccination rate.
Dr. Miggy also explained to us the term Herd Immunity, which is for him, the number 1 thing that we can do to save lives and prevent diseases to happen. Have you head about Herd Immunity? It is my first time I learned about it too. It is when a significant portion of your population that becomes immunize to against a particular disease, thereby protects who are not immunize. Let’s say, your kid’s class, if 95% of the students are vaccinated, there is a very low chance that the kids could get sick because of the virus one can get from another. So, if the 5% of the class isn’t vaccinated, the 95% will be strong enough to fight the bad virus away, the 5% would be protected, all thanks to the kids that are immunized. Thus, none of the kids would get sick.
Did you know that not only those who has been vaccinated will benefit when one is vaccinated? In a Herd Immunity – children who have not yet vaccinated from that particular disease, people who are imuno compromise that can’t receive the vaccine, elderly that doesn’t have a good immune response and people who doesn’t have access to vaccine – will benefit from it. Having Herd Immunity in your community, the disease will be irradiated.
BUT. For Herd Immunity to work – we need to get more number of people we get on board, the less chance that the disease will be able to circulate throughout your community.
More reasons to be vaccinated:
1. Vaccines WORK. It really works. 90-95% effective and has saved millions of life already.
2. Vaccines are SAFE. Before they were put out to the public, studies and testings has been made.
3. Vaccines are NECESSARY. Prevention is always better than CURE.
4. Even if a vaccinated person gets the disease, it would be milder than those who aren’t vaccinated.
Dr. Abby Chiong-Rivera, a Diplomate of Philippine Pediatric Society and Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP), shed light on the facts and myths of vaccine.
Fact: Vaccine can save lives. Refusal of having our kids vaccinated is actually caused by fear and lack of knowledge about it. Parents fear for the side effects, that the kids might get sick, or worst, they could die. We can change their perception on vaccines by giving them information.
Myth: Vaccines can cause autism. There is still no evidence that there is a connection between autism and vaccination, but there has been studies that identified symptoms of autism prior to a child getting vaccinated with MMR and even more recent studies show that autism develops even before the baby is born and is still inside the tummy of his mother.
Myth: Vaccines contain harmful chemicals like toxins. As Dr. Abby mentioned, vaccines do contain multiple ingredients like antigens, preservatives, and stabilizers which are proven to be safe and effective when used correctly and in small amounts. This chemicals are needed to improve imunogenic effect of vaccine to prolong its potency and to kill viruses or bacteria in the vaccine. They contain only very small amounts.
Myth: Flu vaccines causes flu and doesn’t work. We should get flu shots every year because they constantly changing based on the gravity of the flu, so flu shots should be updated yearly.
Myth: Natural immunity is better than immunity from vaccine. Risks from natural infection is way greater than that of from the vaccines. If, example, you chose to actual measels from natural infection, then you face a 1 in 500 chance of dying through symptoms like Pneumonia. But if getting allergic reaction from MMR, it is less than 1 per 1M.
Myth: A child can actually get the disease from the vaccine. Vaccines can cause mild symptoms which resemble those but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is infection. It is our body’s way of response to the developing anti-bodies from the vaccine and not from the disease itself.
Fact: Vaccines are safe and effective. They took years and years of research and clinical trials before they got licensed to market it.
Answers to questions thrown:
1. We have vaccines for adolescents and adults and it can still be effective especially if the vaccine were not given to the person when he was an infant.
2. There is no overdose with vaccines. We have 4 limbs and it could receive shots all at once. Our body deals with millions of bacterias everyday and very small amounts of antigens when introduced through vaccines are just nothing, our body can take it.
3. For Polio: A child that has completed vaccines when younger can get another shot of Polio vaccine. Although, if a child has complete polio vaccines and is already over 5, there is a slim chance for him to get it. But there is no danger in getting additional. It is safe to get one to boost up immunity and bring up antibodies once again. If a child is incomplete with Polio vaccines as a kid, no need to go back to zero, just complete the remaining. For other vaccines, it depends on the type.
OPV is easier to give and is not painless since it is oral, but it only has 2 strains which is type 1 and 3. IPV has 3 strains. It is better to give both because OPV’s advantage is that it stimulates your IgA, makes your gut immune to polio. Because it is through the gut that it is transmitted and how it could spread into the community. OPV can stop it to spread while the IPV can’t do that. That is why you need both to control personal and community immunity.
See, what the benefits of getting vaccinated can do? Yep, they don’t only protect the person that was vaccinated but the people they get to interact with daily. But Herd Immunity will work better if we are all protected. Now, I am reaching out and pleading to all parents, save our kids from getting sick, save other kids from getting sick, save ourselves. Check your vaccination records, go to your trusted pediatrician or the health center and have your kids (and even yourself) vaccinated. This our role as parents. It is ultimately our responsibility to protect our family, ourselves, and the community. It would make a difference if we are well-informed. We should reach out to as many people to make them realize the importance and to help them let go of their worries. Let’s all get #ProtectedTogether!
You can watch the whole talk here: