Tuesday March 19, 2019

Parents More Worried About the Vaccines Rather Than the Disease

“Collectively, this factor is driving vaccine refusal and delay,” said Professor Tony Yang, one of the principal authors of the study.

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“I had measles. I had mumps. I had German measles (rubella). I had the chickenpox so I know what those diseases felt like, and it was miserable,” he said
Representational Image, Pixabay

Dr. Paul Offit is an infectious disease specialist and an expert in vaccines. He’s been at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia since 1992. Since then he says not a year has gone by when he has not seen a child die from a vaccine-preventable disease. It’s largely, he says, because the parents chose not to vaccinate their child.

Far from Philadelphia, along the rugged border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, health workers are desperately trying to vaccinate every child against polio so no child will ever again suffer the crippling effects of this disease. If they can complete this task, polio will be a disease of the past.

Offit says the difference between parents in this mountainous border region of southcentral Asia and those in the U.S. is that in Pakistan and Afghanistan, people know the devastating consequences of polio. He says previous generations in the U.S. did, too.

Offit says parents in his generation were also quick to vaccinate their children.

“I had measles. I had mumps. I had German measles (rubella). I had the chickenpox so I know what those diseases felt like, and it was miserable,” he said

Dr. Paul Offit is an infectious disease specialist and an expert in vaccines. He’s been at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia since 1992.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, wikimedia commons

23 viruses, two cancers

Vaccines can prevent 23 viruses and two types of cancer, and more vaccines are in the works, including one for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Offit is the co-inventor of a life-saving rotavirus vaccine.

But some parents are not getting their children vaccinated. Last year there were more than 14,000 cases of measles in Europe, mostly in Romania. Nearly 40 children died. It exasperates health officials like Miljana Grbic, head of the World Health Assembly in Romania.

“We cannot fight this disease if we do not increase vaccination coverage,” she said. “… But we also have to understand why vaccination coverage is going down.”

For some parents, it’s the inconvenience of the trip to the doctor’s office. Others think good hygiene and nutrition are all children need to stay healthy. Still others believe vaccines can give their children autism, diabetes and other diseases.

Offit says persuading these parents to vaccinate their children is hard.

“It’s hard to compel people to vaccinate against something that they don’t fear,” he said. “And when they don’t fear that, what they’ll do is, they’ll fear the vaccines, and I think that’s where we’re at.”

Vaccine refusal spreads

A study published in BMJ suggests that in the U.S., vaccine refusal is contagious. It spreads from communities with a high number of parents who oppose vaccines to other communities nearby when parents who oppose vaccines talk to their friends and parents of their children’s schoolmates.

“Collectively, this factor is driving vaccine refusal and delay,” said Professor Tony Yang, one of the principal authors of the study.

If they can complete this task, polio will be a disease of the past.
A health worker gives a polio vaccine to a baby girl in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, April 9, 2018. A Pakistani official says authorities have launched a new polio vaccination drive, aiming to reach 38.7 million children under the age of 5, VOA

Yang, from George Mason University, and his co-authors looked at the number of non-medical exemptions for vaccines from 2000 to 2013. They found these exemptions increased in geographical clusters.

Some governments are now making it harder for parents not to immunize their children. After a measles outbreak, California passed more restrictive laws. Yang says parents trust their pediatricians, so health care providers need to be more pro-active in getting children vaccinated.

Australia HPV work

Despite hesitancy in some parts of the world, some countries are leading the way in promoting vaccines. Australia has provided the HPV vaccine to school-aged girls since 2007.

Also Read: Sitting in Cars or Planes For Long Duration Can Cause Blood Clots, says Study 

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) causes cervical cancer, the second most common type of cancer in women worldwide. It also causes head and neck cancers and genital warts.

By 2013, a study showed a significant reduction in the number of young women with abnormal cells of the cervix and a 90 percent decline in genital warts in young women.

Cervical cancer takes 20 to 30 years to develop. By 2035, Australia expects to see up to a 45 percent decline in deaths from cervical cancer all because of a vaccine and the government’s policy. (IANS)

 

Next Story

Instagram, Facebook to Remove Vaccine Misinformation Content: Report

Since both the social networking platforms are heavily used by advertisers, ads found to include fake news on vaccinations would be rejected outright

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Instagram
Instagram app logo is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

As part of their effort to reduce the spread of “vaccine hoaxes” on its platform, Facebook and its photo-messaging app Instagram will no longer allow advertisements that include misinformation about vaccines.

The company has decided to take action against accounts which are promoting vaccine hoaxes that have been publicly identified by the World Health Organisation and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, US.

“We want to give people more accurate information from expert organisations about vaccines at the top of results for related searches, on Pages discussing the topic, and on invitations to join groups about the topic,” Monika Bickert, Vice President, Global Policy Management, Facebook wrote in a blog-post on Thursday.

As part of the initiative, the Facebook Pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in News Feed and Search would not be included in recommendations or predictions.

facebook
Facebook: The platform allows for different types of content, which makes it ideal for diverse, interactive and entertaining content.

On Instagram, recommended content on vaccinations that could contain wrong information would not show up in the Explore tab and hashtag pages.

Since both the social networking platforms are heavily used by advertisers, ads found to include fake news on vaccinations would be rejected outright.

Also Read- Google Rolls out ‘Continued Conversations’ Feature on its Google Assistant

“For ad accounts that continue to violate our policies, we may take further action, such as disabling the ad account,” Bickert said.

“We are exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people come across misinformation on this topic,” she added. (IANS)