Children, Vaccines & Polio Oubreak???
Vaccines, Kids and Polio Outbreak???
When I was first pregnant a few years ago, the debate started. To vaccinate or not. Did vaccinations contribute to health ailments ranging from seizures to autism? When I grew up, it was a foregone conclusion that you vaccinated. Now so much information, and perhaps misinformation, is floating out there, it’s hard for a parent to make sense of it all.
In the end, I vaccinated my children. But not without cringing every time the needle is plunged in their skin. In part for their tears and the pain, and in part because I wonder if I am making the right decision.
Children in Ontario have a set schedule for vaccinations that start as early as 2 months. Below is the schedule from birth to 18 months:
2 months, 4 months & 6 months: Diphtheria - Tetanus - Pertusis - Polio - Hib - Prevnar
12 months: Measles - Mumps - German Measles (MMR), Menjugate
15 months: Varicella (Chickenpox)
18 months: Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis- Polio- Hib - MMR
Some families who have chosen to vaccinate, delay the schedule while they sort through the boggling information, or what they believe is important to give their child’s body more time to mature, and potentially reduce risk of side effects.
New Warning on Potential for Polio Outbreak
Polio is one of the vaccines children routinely receive in Canada. To prevent the spread of an outbreak, a coverage of 90% is usually required. In Ontario, rates of immunization for children in the past decade is about 80%. The Canadian Paediatric Society board of directors is soon to issue recommendations urging family doctors and paediatricians to immunize children against polio because of a persistent major outbreak in Tajikistan.
Certified Polio Free - Not Sufficient Protection
Interestingly, in 2002, the WHO certified Tajikistan as polio-free region. This is the first time that an epidemic occurred in a certified polio-free region. Tajikistan now represents 75% of the world’s polio cases. In the past, India and Nigeria were troubled spots, but those countries are making progress.
What does this mean for you?
Tajikistan might seem half a world away, but theoretically in a global world outbreaks are only a plane ride away. The outbreak has already spread to other areas like Russia and Uzbekistan. Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands also have low vaccination rates and are susceptible. And it’s not just if you travel (or don’t) . Last year, a quarter to half a million Tajiks traveled to 250 countries. For every case of polio, there are thought to be at least 99 people who are asymptomatically infected but shedding virus i.e. the person doesn’t know they are infected and don’t manifest Polio, but they can spread the disease.
There is no cure for Polio and it is forever. It’s serious and sometimes fatal, but the good news it’s preventable. Please don’t take this blog as medical advice. If children in your family have not been vaccinated, take this new information as an opportunity to re-evaluate, do more research, discuss with your health care practitioner and then make the decision that is right for you and your family.
Please Share Your Experience
We would love to hear from you with any tips and your experiences with vaccines.
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