This EPA article was first published in Harian Metro on 21 September 2016.
*EPA stands for Educational Press Articles, which are published by Positive Parenting every fortnight.
Please download the BM published article here.
By Datuk Dr Musa Mohd Nordin, Consultant Paediatrician & Neonatologist
Every year, vaccines save the lives of over 2.5 million people and prevent 750,000 more from disabilities.
Immunity is the body’s way of preventing disease. The immune system recognizes germs that enter the body (called antigens) and produces proteins called antibodies to fight them. Most of the time, the immune system isn’t able to work fast enough to prevent the antigen from causing disease, so the child still gets sick.
Nevertheless, the immune system “remembers” that particular antigen and if it reappears, the body will be ready and respond much faster next time round to prevent any infections. This protection is called immunity.
Vaccination, on the other hand, helps your child develop immunity without him/her getting sick in the process.
• Routine childhood vaccinations protect your child from serious diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, influenza, measles mumps and rubella.
• Vaccination protects children from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases which in some cases can lead to brain damage or even death.
• Some vaccine-preventable diseases can also result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care.
What is the NIP?
NIP stands for the ‘National Immunisation Programme’. It consists of a list of recommended routine vaccinations for children which must be taken – without exception! The vaccines are provided for free and is available at all public hospitals and selected clinics (klinik kesihatan).
Why So Many?
The immune system is robust and is able to take on more than just a few weakened antigens. In fact, the human body takes in far more antigens from the air, water and environment daily.
Are There Any Side Affects?
Vaccines are manufactured to meet the most stringent and highest standards of safety. However, a very small percentage of people may experience mild side effects. In extremely rare circumstances, more serious side effects can occur, like allergic reactions.
Nevertheless, we must remember that any medical intervention comes with some degree of risks. But avoiding it altogether solely because you want to avoid risk is senseless because doing nothing is also associated with risks!
Will Vaccines Cause Autism
The association of autism with vaccination (particularly the MMR vaccine) is one of the biggest myths in medicine. Researchers have time and time again, debunked the link between the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine and autism. The latest study which referenced 67 high quality scientific articles concluded that immunization does not lead to autism. And this has been confirmed by global health agencies e.g. WHO and the CDC.
Having your child immunised helps to protect them from many serious childhood infections, some of which may be life threatening. There’s no doubt that vaccines are the best option for both your child and the population at large. Don’t wait, make the right decision and see your doctor to have your child immunised today.
1. Taylor, L. E., Swerdfeger, A. L., & Eslick, G. D. (2014). Vaccines are not associated with autism: an evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies. Vaccine, 32(29), 3623-3629.