May 242012

The one thing that parents do is protect their children. Vaccination has been one way of protecting children, but has now become a parents dilemma.

On one hand you are instructed to vaccinate your child to protect them from disease. And yes, a disease like polio has lifetime repercussions hence the need to prevent it. Vaccinating your baby is part of the accepted parenting norms

On the other hand you want to avoid the side effects of the vaccine and avoid the fact that your child might still suffer the disease despite the fact that they went through the vaccination process. The problem is if you do not vaccinate your child, you are put into an outcast group of parents said not to care.

Making your decision from a point of knowledge is important. Let’s discuss the two options:

The Vaccination Path:

There are two main strategies in vaccination:

1. One strategy is when the vaccine produces the same effect the disease does without necessarily making your baby suffer from the disease. When the disease is introduced into the bloodstream, the body stimulates into action some cells (Beta-cells). These cells create antibodies against the disease. The cells also keep a memory record of the disease causing organism creating an immune response to it if it ever attacks.
The process of forming the immunity requires that the virus introduced replicates itself several times imitating the disease.
Vaccines of this type are like Measles, mumps and chicken pox

2. The other strategy is when the vaccine deactivates a virus by killing it with a chemical. When this is done, the virus cannot reproduce at all, as the presence of the dead virus in the body still generates a response by Beta-cells, producing antibodies, a memory record hence sustaining the immunity.
Vaccines of this type include polio, Influenza, Hepatitis A, Rabies,

For some Diseases caused by Bacteria, a dead bacteria is introduced into the body to achieve the immunity building objective.

The Natural way:

When your baby is born, they have an immune system composed of cells, glands, organs, and fluids located throughout the body. The immune system recognizes all the germs that enter the body as ‘unwanted invaders’ also called antigens. The cells in the immune system produce protein substances called antibodies that fight the invaders.

A normal, healthy immune system produces millions of antibodies that defend the body and fight thousands of attacks every day. This is a natural and intrinsic affair that we do not feel it happen. The cells involved in antibody production become “memory cells” that remember the pathogen. The next time it comes to the body, it is recognized and fought. This ability to protect the body is called immunity.

The Dilemma:

As parents the dilemma is do you allow your baby to develop their immunity or do you get them ‘sick’or gives a chemical to boost their immunity?
As Parents we are caught up in the fear of the disease and the requirement to protect their children.

I may not have the answer but, ask yourself these questions before you vaccinate your baby or yourself.

  • Does the body have the ability to fight disease? How is the immunity?
  • How prevalent is the disease you are vaccinating against?
  • How likely is it that your child will catch it?
  • Can you protect your child from the disease and how can you do it?
  • If your child catches the disease, how possible is it to treat it?
  • Are you ready to help your baby go through the effects of the vaccine
  • What can you do to boost your baby’s immunity?

An informed decision is always best.

Lucy Muchiri

  One Response to “To Vaccinate or not; A Parents Dilemma”

  1. My nearly two year old has had 14 vaccinations from birth up to now. The matter of immunisation was presented to me in such a way that I was made to understand that I had to do it or else my child was in grave danger. As usual, I was given scary statistics and I was very uneasy, not because of the needles but because I didn’t fully understand what is really contained in those vaccines and whether the risk of vaccinating outweighs the risk of catching the disease. I was not reassured at all even when I was told they are perfectly safe. I have since discovered that there are measures one can take as a parent to counter vaccine “damage” if one opts to vaccinate. Thank you Lucy for raising this sensitive issue here. There is so much information and disinformation available to parents and it is often difficult to make the right decision on these matters.

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