Immunization is a process by which a child is made resistant to infections typically by administration of a vaccine. This year’s theme for immunization is "Protected together #vaccines work."

In this article, let us look at few common myths and facts associated with child immunization.

Myth

All vaccine-preventable diseases are not serious.

Fact

Most of the diseases are serious. Vaccination is the only mode of prevention for such diseases.

Myth

Immunity acquired by getting a disease is better as compared to vaccination.

Fact

The immune response to vaccines is similar to the one produced by natural infection. However, the price paid for immunity through natural infection can be as high as birth defects from congenital rubella or even death from tetanus.

Myth

Vaccination overloads my baby’s immune system.

Fact

A baby is exposed to countless organisms every day. The number of organisms injected through immunization is negligible in comparison.

Myth

It is better to get one vaccine at a time.

Fact

Thanks to combination vaccines, a child gets protection from multiple diseases with just one injection. For example:

MMR protects against mumps, measles and rubella

6-in-1 vaccine protects against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, H Influenza-B, polio and hepatitis B.

Myth

MMR vaccine causes autism           

Fact

A paper published in !998, establishing a link between the two, was proved fraudulent.  subsequent studies have also found no link.

Myth

There will be fewer side effects if I delay my baby's vaccine

Fact

It is important to start vaccines at a very young age as the uptake of the vaccines is better. On the contrary, the child is more vulnerable to acquire the disease, if delayed.

Myth

My child does not need vaccine against eradicated diseases.

Fact

These diseases still exist, though rare. An unvaccinated child is at risk when these diseases are imported.

Myth

Diseases will not spread if we ensure proper hygiene and sanitation.

Fact

Many infections spread regardless of cleanliness. If the children are not vaccinated, uncommon diseases such as polio, may reappear.

Myth

Vaccines have harmful side effects

Fact

Vaccines are rigorously tested and adhere to strict standards before they are put out in the market. Side effects are rare.

Myth

Vaccines cannot be given if my child has cold.

Fact

Minor illnesses like cold or recent antibiotic is not a contraindication. However, it is best to consult your paediatrician before immunization.

Vaccines are one of the greatest pillars of modern medicine. As science continues to advance, they continue to protect from potentially devastating illnesses. Let us remember this year’s theme "Protected together #vaccines work."

Dr Pushkala.M.S. MBBS, M.D.(Pediatrics), PGDID(UNSW-Australia) is a Consultant Pediatrician, Kauvery Hospital