Delaying Booster Doses of Vaccinations is Not an Option #DontWaitVaccinate

by - July 16, 2020

One of the webinars attended by doctors in my city last week brought up an interesting topic, one that I had not considered and the details of which I think parents have a right to be aware of. 

It was the consultant paediatrician who raised the issue that many parents were calling her to enquire about postponing scheduled booster dosages for their children’s vaccinations, owing to their apprehensions vis-à-vis the pandemic and lockdown. They were concerned that by bringing their child to a hospital, they risked getting the child exposed to other sick patients at this time. This was a genuine concern and something many of us from other branches of the medical fraternity had honestly not considered.

Parents delay giving boosters for many reasons, the paediatrician explained to us. These may range from an innocent miscalculation of the dates to a more deliberate choice because of misconceived ideas against the vaccines themselves. Sometimes parents are not aware that preschoolers and adolescents both need to be given booster doses. The present global scenario had resulted in most parents either being unable to move out because of the lockdown or else actively choosing not to come, preferring to wait out the pandemic rather than risk having their child or adolescent walk amongst potential carriers of the corona virus.

a mother taking care of her child


The paediatrician explained to us that while the concerns were genuine, delaying these booster doses of vaccines was the wrong way to go. These vaccinations have multiple doses with fixed time intervals for a specific reason, she pointed out. They help build and maintain the child’s immunity against certain diseases. Delaying a booster dose reduces the defense acquired against the disease and leaves the child vulnerable for getting these diseases in the future. What is more, the child then becomes a danger to all the other individuals with weakened immunity in his vicinity, resulting in a fresh outbreak which could have fatal consequences.

Having personal experiences  of watching young children die due to vaccine-preventable diseases over the course of our career, we understood why she was worried. But what was the solution?

Doctors who attended that webinar from various cities all agreed that delaying booster doses for children was out of the question in the present scenario. Instead, we decided to raise awareness using both social media and tele-medicine sessions, asking parents to come forward and have their children’s booster doses done at the earliest. To alleviate their fears, we decided to space out both, the timings of the appointment and the seating arrangements, so that there is no risk of overcrowding in the clinic or hospital. Those parents who have missed or delayed a booster dose would be counseled to bring their childd and adolescent in at the earliest.

I am informing you of this because there is a legitimate fear today that by delaying vaccinations, we risk seeing fresh outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles in the coming year, concerns echoed by the World Health Organization

Like you, we doctors are scared too. In keeping our eye focused on the virus that has affected the entire world today, we cannot allow other preventable diseases to rise again. The paediatrician’s words still ring in my ears even today as I write this – “In trying to be good parents and keeping their kids safe at home and away from disease-ridden hospitals, they tragically end up risking those innocent children’s lives even more.”

#DontWaitVaccinate your child now! Get more information on DTP booster vaccines here.


Disclaimer: 
The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of the public awareness initiative supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur India bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information.

 

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12 comments

  1. Deepa GandhiJuly 16, 2020

    Agree Roshan. Missing booster vaccination for kids is not an option as these protect kids from deadly diseases.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even before the pandemic, we have seen instances where parents have resisted booster doses for various reasons and there have been outbreaks...

      Delete
  2. And then there is a lobby of people who don't believe in vaccines. Can't tell which ons is the right one though.
    Also you can't travel to places like Africa without taking a couple of vaccines.

    I've given both my daughters their vaccines all in time. I'm not sure how things will be going the way forward, as Ayurveda etc do speak about going vaccine-less.
    Different schools of thought I guess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. going vaccine-less would be a terrible decision. We have eradicated diseases like smallpox only because of sustained efforts globally for vaccination. Stopping boosters has resulted in outbreaks in Kerala and even Southern parts of USA in the last decade.

      There honestly is no vaccine-less scenario.

      Delete
  3. Agree with your, doc. Timely vaccination is imp. We too had our concerns about visiting the hospital during this lockdown but thankfully our pediatrician guided us well on the protocols to follow and how to go about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad you did. This is what our health departments should have been addressing by now...

      Delete
  4. I have heard many of the same arguments about going vaccine less through Ayurveda, that Nats mentioned above. Then there is a whole lobby in the western world that is simply against vaccines without an alternative solution.

    And I have to admit that I don't know enough to know who/what is right. But honestly, I personally am a very strong rule-follower type. So I cannot imagine not vaccinating my kid. So we ensure to never miss his vaccine appointments. For now, that feels like the safer choice for my family, and for the society.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alternative solutions cannot be at the behest of ignoring vaccines. There simply is no option like that...

      Delete
  5. That's very important that parents should not further delayed vaccination in the current scenario. This post clear many doubts that parents are going through in COVID time. As stronger immunity keeps diseases at bay hence timely vaccination is the need of hour. #DontWaitVaccinate

    ReplyDelete

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Let me know what you think.