One of the first things a new parent is asked to take care of – is vaccination. Especially, the polio vaccine among others. The recent news stating that contaminated polio drops have been administered to 1.1 lakh children in Agra district is appalling! These polio vials were apparently contaminated with type 2 polio virus, a strain that has been eradicated in our country and has not been seen for the past two decades. Most of these contaminated vials were sent to Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra, states a news report by The Times of India.
Are lives of children so inexpensive? Are safety and quality controls, of something so critical, not strong enough? Is our children’s health at the mercy of pharmaceutical companies? This issue perhaps got exposed due to the large number of children who were affected. Does that mean other vaccines might have contamination too, the effects of which go unnoticed?
“Polio Vaccine Contamination puts 1 in 2 Lakh children at risk, that’s not dangerous.” – says an article on Firstpost authored by the Chairman and practicing Neoonatologist at the Cloudnine Group of Hospitals. This article seems to suggest that the matter is not so unnerving as it is made out to be. May be, statistically that’s true but why should even one child be affected negatively because of a vaccine? What if that child is ours? Is there a way to check the quality of vaccine before it is administered to our child (after all, it is made by humans in a factory and the possibility of error can’t be ruled out)? Do we know what vaccines contain (In case of food, we can atleast read the labels)?
The matter is too broad and deep at the same time and can leave us feeling helpless. What young parents can perhaps do is arm themselves with information and be more aware before making decisions on vaccination for those innocent, little lives they are nurturing.
What do we know about vaccines and what we do not?
What we understand so far about how vaccines work – By way of vaccination, a regulated amount of disease-causing-microbes (antigens), whose disease producing power has been destroyed, are introduced in the body. Medical experts claim that by doing so, we are equipping the body to arm itself with the requisite protection. It can then identify and secure itself against any future attacks from that antigen by creating antibodies (the warriors of our immune system). This is the definition you will find in any school text book too.
We decided to probe into this matter a bit more than what’s apparent and found a few startling facts that we are compelled to share.