As a mom of a newborn I was confronted with two choices, either to vaccinate her for rarely occurring diseases like rotavirus, which were iterated to be optional vaccines or decide to face the consequences. It was not an easy choice, as there was a lot of self-doubt occurring within me, like the side effects of these vaccines, varied opinions on the internet regarding their efficiency, cost of these vaccines, etc.
Though this is my second child, like they say, how many ever kids you have, everything will be new for each kid. For my first, I was not aware of these costly optional vaccines and went ahead by vaccinating for the usual polio and others. As I started my quest on the internet to get answers, I came across a word, ‘Herd immunity.’ We all know that vaccines are given to immunise ourselves against a particular disease. So what is herd immunity and what is it with these optional vaccines?
It was said that in the earlier times, man lived in herds, which means groups. Though we have now left the practice, we still act as a community. Herd immunity means that not everyone needs to be immune to a particular disease to prevent its spread. If a majority of people are immunised in a community, it will protect the remaining susceptible persons because the pathogen is less likely to find a susceptible person.
In a country like India, not everyone can afford to vaccinate their offspring. In that case, the privileged ones, without any deliberation, should make sure their kids are vaccinated, which will prevent not only them but also the less privileged kids. I felt it’s our social responsibility and a way of giving back to society. So, I went ahead and fixed an appointment with my paediatrician for a vaccination. Next time when you have to make a choice in this regard, please remember this and do vaccinate your children, if you can afford it.
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