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And parents, at least those who could, religiously had their children immunized against these diseases without resistance, which undoubtedly saved many lives.

OPINION: Educate Yourself About Vaccines to Make the Right Health Choice for You and Your Children

posted onApril 26, 2024

By Dr. Richard Paul Mukama

From a young age, we were taught about the six killer diseases, against which we had to be immunized to avoid life-threatening conditions that could even lead to infant deaths. We can all remember Polio, Diphtheria, Measles, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Tuberculosis.

And parents, at least those who could, religiously had their children immunized against these diseases without resistance, which undoubtedly saved many lives. The number of immunizable diseases has increased since, and new vaccines have been introduced on the market.

Currently, a child under 5 years has to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A &B, Rota Virus, Hib, Pneumonia, Influenza (commonly known as flu), Chicken Pox and Rubella, on top of the already mentioned 6 diseases. Yellow Fever and COVID-19 have also been added to that list recently.

Simply put, immunisation means the introduction of the specific disease (vaccine) into the body. This prompts the body to produce a protection army of its own, called anti bodies, which counter a disease, boosting up the body’s immunity and giving it the ability to fight against the specific illness.

This helps the body to be forearmed and in case the real disease ever attacks, it is well-equipped to efficiently fight it and win. The government, through the Ministry of Health, recently did a countrywide mass yellow fever vaccination. Given the conspiracy theories that have shrouded Big Pharma and vaccines over the years, it is of little wonder that this was faced a lot of resistance from people especially parents, who thought they were saving their children from something very dangerous.

There have been claims of these vaccines being a ploy to depopulate the world, that they have long-term effects, and all sorts of unsubstantiated rumours. It is a widely acknowledged fact that good leaders have opposition, new policies always have people who disagree with them.

Introduction of new vaccines and there will always be prophets of doom, who will always spread propaganda, without facts for reasons best known to themselves. The World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nation’s body in charge of global health, refutes claims of vaccines being harmful to the body, with evidence of over one million people whose lives are saved every year by these very vaccines.

It is also on record that over the years, over 20 different vaccines have been put on the market to help in the stop of the killings of various deadly diseases. If vaccines were as dangerous as claimed by propagandists, would more still be made? Today, having access to immunisation is a human right. Immunization is a crucial part of us so much so WHO organises a week for every April since 2012 to sensitize and make awareness about.

With all the myths that fly around whenever a new vaccine is introduced and verified, this week promotes education around the benefits that come with these initiatives. This years’ Immunization Week starts on 24th April and runs until 30th April2024. Use this week to visit the nearest healthcare center nearest to you to find out as much information about vaccines, the importance of immunization for both you and your child, so that you can make informed decisions.

The world is fast changing and with these changes come conditions that could affect our immunity. New diseases come up all the time and it only makes sense that vaccines are introduced to counter these diseases, while boosting our immunity.

Ultimately, we all want to stay alive long enough to watch the children grow, to build legacies and make change where possible; why don’t we start by accepting the help rendered to us because if a vaccine is verified by the WHO and even distributed by the home government, it simply means that they are looking out for the benefit of all of us. Our children rely on us to make the best decisions for them.

Let us educate ourselves and make the right choices by immunizing them appropriately.

Dr. Richard Paul Mukama is the Clinical Operations Manager at C-Care IHK

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