To vaccinate or not vaccinate?

vaccinationOne can often hear this question in adults’ dialogues regarding children. Most of us have reflected on this question as grownups, yet did not bother to get into in depth research. Parents often find their selves struggling in taking the right decision. Yet, which one is right?

 Immunization , implies introducing into the body weakened germs of a disease. As such, the healthy body responses by producing antibodies to fight it. When our health is threatened by the actual disease, the reminiscence of previous invasion makes our bodies counteract efficiently.

Healthcare specialists point out to the importance of vaccination as being a safe and effective form of severe disease prevention as whooping cough, measles, diphtheria, chickenpox, or mumps. WHO argues to be a proven tool for preventing 2-3 million deaths a year. On the same note, UNICEF emphasizes on the importance of immunizing children before the age of 5 and vaccination being crucial for hardest to reach families.

The low incidence nowadays of  measles, rubella or diphtheria to the level that hardly  representatives can be found are incontrovertible facts on immunization.

Yet not everybody agrees with this form of prevention. Religious, ethical or ideological beliefs, peers experiences, media scandals around pharmaceutical companies or just skepticism, are few reasons that drive people not to accept immunization. Religious objections are frequently used  to the point when even nullifidians use religion shield  to avoid vaccinating their children. Some parents even have to appear in front of  the court to refusing to vaccinate their children.

On the same side, anti-immunization activists do not cease to show their repudiation. A current article in The Guardian  debates the picture posted by an anti-vaccination group comparing vaccination with “forced penetration”.

Based on personal interactions with parents who share different views towards immunization, similar pros and cons can be found. A striking case of an 18 moth infant dying of measles in Germany  spurred debates on making vaccination mandatory by law. This case points to the risks that our children are exposed by refusing immunization. Such cases of parents blaming vaccines for paralysis of  their child while doctors admitting that  vaccines could potentially  be the cause, drive us to the “refusal camp”. Many examples can be found that divides society in their decisions.

While personal convictions may drive us in taking different decision, we should also remember that we are a part of the community, the society and do not live in isolation.

Convictions should be sustained by information, information submitted to inquiry and argued by specialist. The World Immunization Week (24 – 30 April) is here to make us reflect on the vaccination weight, not only for our benefit (or disadvantage), yet on the impact it has globally.

Do not miss the topic on immunization at the CEMI 20 seminar on infectious diseases, hosted on HWE platform in May. (check our blog on daily basis for more info)

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at
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Talos Health Solutions 327 Avenue Louise, 1050 Brussels - Belgium
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