9 February 2013

Nigeria: Vaccinated Children More Prone to Diseases

Prevention, they say, is better than cure. That is why the world of medicine today is geared towards prevention of illness and diseases, especially those that are preventable through vaccination. But according to a recent study, vaccinated children are said to be more prone to diseases than their unvaccinated counterparts. After comparing disease rates among vaccinated and unvaccinated, it came to a clear disparity between the two groups as far as illness rates are concerned. RALIAT AHMED-YUSUF writes.

Vaccination is the administration of antigenic material to stimulate an individual's immune system to develop adaptive immunity to a pathogen. The vaccine triggers the body's natural immune response into action to protect against the disease without the risk of infection.

However, an ongoing study comparing disease rates among vaccinated and unvaccinated children has pointed to a pretty clear disparity between the two groups as far as illness rates are concerned.

As reported by the group, children who have been vaccinated are up to five times more likely to contract a preventable disease than children who developed their own immune systems naturally without vaccines.

Released as its own preliminary study, the survey includes data on 8,000 unvaccinated children whose overall disease rates were compared to disease rates among the general population, the vast majority of which has been vaccinated. And in every single disease category, unvaccinated children fared far better than vaccinated children in terms of both disease prevalence and severity. In other words, the evidence suggests that vaccines are neither effective nor safe.

But a medical practitioner, Dr. Osaro Inneh, disagrees with the outcome of the study. "This is yet to be substantiated with scientific proof."

He observed that regardless of how correct the observation of this study may be, the importance and efficacy of immunization cannot be overruled. Vaccination is one of the tools that have been used to reduce the prevalence and incidence of childhood diseases, as well as the associated morbidity and mortality, he added.

Dr. Inneh pointed out that children need help in all ramification of life. They need help for growth and development - physically and mentally. They need help for maintenance and promotion of health. They also need help to boost immunity by proper and adequate nutrition.

According to him, recent advances in immunology, molecular biology and genetic engineering have stimulated new approach to the development of vaccines, and there is hope that effective vaccines can be developed against malaria and other parasitic infections.

"You will observe that before now, the incidence of diseases such as tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, petusis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, viral hepatitis and yellow fever were very high with associated morbidity and mortality. But these have been reduced to the barest minimum, and some are even very rare now because of the emergence of immunization via the use of vaccines," Inneh stated.

As disclosed by the study, vaccinated children are nearly twice as likely as unvaccinated children to develop neuro-dermatitis, for instance - a skin disorder marked by chronic itching and scratching. Similarly, vaccinated children are about two-and-a-half times likely, based on current data, to develop a pattern of migraine headaches compared to unvaccinated children.

Dr. Inneh agreed that although vaccines are not without adverse effects, some of the adverse effects from vaccines include soreness, redness, swelling and small lump at the site of injection. These are temporary, he added. Cases of autism and a host of others have been reported, but the benefits of vaccines by far outweigh these adverse effects.

He noted that vaccines have been used to control outbreaks of diseases such as yellow fever and TB. There has been eradication of smallpox and elimination of poliomyelitis in the western world, even in other regions of the world with disease control using vaccines.

He opined that natural immunity is good, but it can't be said to be better than immunization in the sense that not many people can withstand the effects of some diseases, talk less of developing immunity to the disease, and beside, why suffer from a disease to acquire immunity when you can easily get immunized for that disease with the use of vaccines?

"Studies and researches are good, after all, but facts are the science. But let us not easily forget the success rates that have been established with immunization via vaccine use. Children should not be subjected to the risk of not getting vaccinated."

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