Your First Year as a Parent Can Save Your Child Forever #YourCareQuotient

by - January 09, 2020

In 2016, I read an article where a young doctor from Kerala expressed his anger and frustration as he watched a child die in agony from diphtheria. The article shocked me because I remember studying that diphtheria was close to being eradicated in India thanks to diligent vaccination programmes. And yet, even in 2019, small children were dying of diphtheria all over again.

Your job as a parent doesn't end by giving your child all the necessary vaccines in the first year of life.

Vaccines in the Era of Misinformation


How this occurred became obvious once people started looking for the reasons. A steady stream of misinformation has been passed over social media and via pamphlets, warning families not to let their children be vaccinated claiming it would sterilize the child or lead to autism. And in an age of social media where suspicion trumps logic and messages spread farther and quicker than even these bacteria and viruses, many parents fell for the lies.

The result? All the hard work creating a herd immunity across India over years was undone. And these preventable diseases rose again, killing our children.

The impact of this misinformation is not limited to just Kerala or India, mind you. Parents deliberately choosing not to vaccinate their children has ended up resulting in outbreaks of previously controlled diseases even in developed countries like the United States.

For me, it is as essential as a doctor to educate you as it is to heal your child. For this reason, I have fact-checked each and every conspiracy theory brought up by anti-vaxxers in the past (You can read it in detail here). 


The concept of Herd Immunity


A population where almost everyone is vaccinated offers what is called a herd immunity that actually protects those who have not yet developed the required immunity. More importantly though, the converse holds true as well.

Image Source: CDC


You see, your child will have a certain amount of immune defences thanks to the vaccines but if your child is surrounded by dozens of children who haven't been vaccinated, the chances of him getting the fatal infection increases dramatically. Even if you’ve done everything right,  you could still end up watching your child suffer from a totally preventable disease just because other parents succumbed to misinformation and didn’t vaccinate their children.

It is important that you understand that your job doesn't end by giving your child all the necessary vaccines in the first year of life. No, you have a far more active role to play in whichever society you live in. You too must educate others and ensure that every child gets vaccinated on schedule without fail.

You can choose to believe in the existence of aliens or even different versions of God, because those personal beliefs will not physically hurt anyone. Choosing not to vaccinate your child is different. It causes actual harm, leaving your child (as well as other innocent children) vulnerable to death following just a seemingly basic infection.

Today, in 2019, we have vaccines - some as oral drops, some via injection - for so many previously fatal diseases including tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps and rubella. They have worked wonders and are all available for your child right from the day of birth.

As per the present guidelines updated to 2019, by the time your child reaches the age of one, he/she would have already received the power to fight 14 killer diseases thanks to these vaccinations, something that was impossible to even consider less than a century ago.

We cannot take a step back from here and let outbreaks of these diseases continue to occur. The aim, in the end, should be eradication and for that, we need you – the parent – to help India achieve that goal.

To achieve an impenetrable national herd immunity.

What's #YourCareQuotient? How much do you understand your child when it comes to sleep patterns, feeding and vaccination? Take the easy, interactive quiz that guides you and get the childcare guide now.


References:

1. https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-36804102
2. https://m.timesofindia.com/city/kozhikode/kerala-6-year-old-boy-dies-due-to-diphtheria/articleshow/69762500.cms
3. https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/kerala-vaccination-drive-hits-stumbling-block-in-malappuram-4916505/
4. https://www.sciencealert.com/it-s-official-anti-vaxxers-are-probably-to-blame-for-the-rise-in-measles
5. https://www.godyears.net/2017/11/stop-listening-to-idiots-and-get-your.html
6. https://www.thenest.in/immunization-schedule-for-children-in-india/

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8 comments

  1. I wasnt aware of the Herd Immunity!! So it means that all or more number of people should get vaccinated so that you stay protected. And that way you can prevent them from transmitting the disease to you and other people as well. Thanks for this new insight!

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    1. Herd immunity is pretty much the reason we are alive and well today. It offers protection even to those who haven't taken the vaccine.

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  2. The herd immunity is a very good idea! I definitely see the need for it. I've had this issue in the past when my son used to catch infections from other kids inspite of him getting immunised regularly. Later, we would get to know that many of them never got immunised because the parents never thought it was needed!

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    1. I hate to sound evil but I have always been of the view that families that don't Vaccinate their kids should be shunned. We are seeing the effects in Kerala where kids have actually died because of decrease in herd immunity

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  3. I had heard about herd immunity but wasn't completely sure about it. Thank you for sharing well researched information.

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    1. Thanks. Important that public realizes just how amazing vaccines are.

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  4. I'm glad to have read this and I am a strong believer of immunizing my little one. Took the quiz and checked out the guide. It was a pleasure to go through her first year all over again. My parents still insist about vaccinations and I'm glad I don't have different opinions about it either. 😁

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    1. I am a bit worried because I see many educated parents these days actually claim to be on the fence. The level of misinformation spread has done so much harm

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So what do you think ?