It was a cool winter evening and I was particularly proud of the new floral mask I was sporting. I wanted to show it off to my mom-friends gang who walk together in the society lanes as our kids play about around us. Come December, the talks are all about school admissions always. Though Sey still has another year before we start scouting for a good school, it’s always beneficial to be well informed about application forms and their timelines and hence I was all ears.
Mom2 was talking about the elaborate list of requisites needed to even be eligible to buy an application form in the first place from one of the reputed schools in our locality. What piqued the mother’s interest was they were demanding to see the vaccination chart of the child especially. Mom3 was flabbergasted at the idea.
Mom4 quipped about how Indian traditional medicine was the best and she tried to avoid modern medicine at all costs and only resorted to it at grave hours of need. They were wondering why schools would join hands with the pharmaceutical industry to peddle more drugs to their children. The opinion that the vaccinations, other than the absolute essential ones given to their child as a new born, were actually unnecessary seemed to be the most prevalent one.
They all obviously looked to me to pour in my opinion, as a doctor, on this conversation of which I was a mute spectator till now. I couldn’t help but smile a little and they all wondered why. Truth is, as we try to embrace the goodness of Indian medicine and celebrate our roots more than our previous generations ever did, we fail to understand the basic underlying principles behind them.
I turned to mom4 and asked her, “Didi, don’t you give Rohan (name changed to protect privacy) adrak and turmeric in his milk every day during the monsoon season? Why is that?” She immediately started elaborating the goodness of both the spices and how they help in building up immunity in her son’s body to fight against any flu infection that is very common between August to March especially among children.
I paused for effect and asked them all, “What do you really think vaccines do inside our children’s body?”. Little did I expect a tangible silence from the group. I wouldn’t blame these mothers. Their over protectiveness comes from a place of love and concern. They don’t want anything harsh to affect the child’s body by unnecessarily subjecting them to extra injections.
Vaccines are actually a type of protein, either derived directly from the microorganism causing the disease or synthetically created to simulate it. They are weak agents and completely safe but what they do is activate and build immunity in children against the disease.
In fact, vaccines are more targeted and precise and come from years of research and elaborate studies. The vaccination charts vary from country to country and only the diseases that are a risk in any particular region are included in that country’s chart. As and when there is a spread of a particular illness in any area, some seasonal vaccines are also advised but free vaccines are staple in any child’s health chart.
One such example is that of the DTaP vaccine or the diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccine which is actually a triple vaccine packed into one. It protects our children from these terrible pathogens. Each of these diseases, if contacted, have a severe course and lead to debilitating effects and sometimes death.
Every child responds to infections in different ways. Your child’s immune system may be well equipped to face a particular strain of infection and fight against it but while doing so they become a carrier of these microorganisms which can be transmitted to other susceptible children who will develop symptoms and side effects that can be alarming and detrimental. This is the very reason why, in a pre schooling environment where children are in close contact for several hours, it is primarily important that each one of them is vaccinated to protect the other and be immune as a crowd to a set of diseases.
DTaP is only for children younger than 7 years old. Different vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap and Td) are available for older children, adolescents, and adults.
It is recommended that children receive 5 doses of DTaP, usually at the following ages:
DTaP may be given as a stand-alone vaccine, or as part of a combination vaccine (a type of vaccine that combines more than one vaccines together into one shot).
DTaP may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
While social media is a boon for new and young mothers, it is also sprinkled with misinformation and popular thought boxes that are silly and in vain. While no form of medicine is better than the other, they all ultimately work together to provide us a safe environment in today’s world. When we have the access and privilege to protect our children from diseases, we as mothers should always strive to do so without a second thought.
In protecting your child, you are also protecting your community by helping to build herd immunity against a group of diseases and eradicate them from our country. Many countries who diligently vaccinate have achieved this status and are a healthy home for young children. Let’s make a healthy home for ours too.
Your child’s DTP booster vaccination is a must. #DontWaitVaccinate and know more about the Right DTP vaccine.
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.