5 Reasons why you should Vaccinate your child

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With all that's been going around, many moms still find it confusing as to why you should vaccinate your child. Read to find out why mom says yes to shots.

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Photo taken by Xinhua of SCMP.com

When I became a first-time mom, I remember looking at my pediatrician like he was crazy when he told me the number of shots that my child was supposed to get before or by the age of 4. I recall wondering why my healthy and boisterous child needed everything that was listed to stay healthy.

I, like many other first-time moms, was hesitant about having the pediatrician stick a long pointy needle into my child. But in the end, I gave in to what the pediatrician was telling me and allowed my child to take the first of the many shots he had waiting for him.

What made me change my mind you ask? Research. A lot of research and the realization that I trust my pediatrician, otherwise, why bother bringing my child to him in the first place.

While the latter reason may not hold much weight for you, the first one might. With that being said, here are the 5 main reasons why I’ve decided to have my child vaccinated:

1. Vaccinations can save your child’s life

In the Philippines, there is a nationwide effort to protect children against measles, rubella and polio.

According to the World Health Organization, about 20 million people get measles worldwide and about 164,000, mostly children, die of the disease.

In fact, in 2014, 16,214 confirmed cases of measles was reported in the Philippines from January 1 to July 5. 91 of the cases reported proved to be fatal. The ages of those diagnosed with measles ranged from 1 month to 77 years – with a whopping 28% belonging to the 1-4 year age group.

Rubella on the other hand is generally mild in children but has serious consequences in pregnant women causing fetal death or congenital defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

Meanwhile, Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age. It invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. Fortunately, the last recorded case of Polio was in 1993 allowing the Philippines to officially be declared polio-free in 2000.

Despite this, it is still important that your child be vaccinated as to maintain the country’s polio-free status. Furthermore, by vaccinating your child, you “help protect them from infectious, sometimes deadly, vaccine preventable diseases.”

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2. Vaccinations are safe and do not cause autism

In 1998, a study suggesting that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine could cause autism was published in the British medical Journal, The Lancet.

Although the study was later retracted, the study by British gastroenterologist, Andrew Wakefield, M.D. and his colleagues had already wreaked havoc around the world with millions of parents refusing to vaccinate their children. In Britain alone, the vaccination rate had dropped drastically by 80 percent.

According to parenting.com, 18 controlled epidemiological studies have investigated the possible connection between autism and vaccines, and “they have all come back showing the same thing,” says Alison Singer, founder and president of the Autism Science Foundation, and a mother of a 13-year-old with autism. “There is no link between vaccines and autism.”

In fact, Rob Ring, Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks backs this up by saying, “Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism.  The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism.  We urge that all children be fully vaccinated.”

3. Vaccinations help families save money

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be kept out of school or child care for long periods of time. A prolonged illness can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills, or long-term disability care. In comparison, vaccination against these diseases is a good investment and is usually covered by insurance.”

In the Philippines, the Department of Health holds a “nationwide measles immunization campaign that targets an estimated 11 million children, from nine months to below five years old to be immunized against measles and rubella.” The vaccination is free of charge and parents are encouraged to avail of it.

Click Next page for more on why You should vaccinate your child.

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4. Vaccinations can also protect children around you

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles are easily spread by coughing, sneezing or touching a surface where the virus is present. Furthermore, “measles is so contagious that 90 percent of people who are not immune can get it from being near a single person with the disease.”

Last 2014, there were 53,357 confirmed cases in the Philippines. One of the reasons behind the figure was because of vaccination programs that were put on hold when the country was struck by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

In turn, because people lived in such close proximity to each other, it was easy for the disease to be passed from one individual to another. On the other hand, even when given the opportunity to have their children vaccinated, a large number of moms failed to do so because they were “busy.”

According to former DOH Secretary Enrique Ona, “We are appealing to these mothers to give priority to vaccination. Nakamamatay kapag kulang ang bakuna. Magtulungan tayo upang protektahan ang buong sambayanang Pilipino. There are still pockets of areas where there are children who have not yet been vaccinated, therefore, we are urging the mothers and caregivers of these to have them vaccinated at the nearest health center even as we conduct mop up vaccinations.”

5. Vaccinations help protect future generations

Vaccinations aren’t just for protecting our children today, but for protecting future generations as well. By vaccinating regularly, many diseases that used to be prevalent before have now been drastically reduced or completely eliminated. An example of such is the smallpox.

Taken from vaccines.gov, “Children and adults do not have to get a smallpox vaccination routinely because the disease no longer exists. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.”

 

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