Pregnancy

Parents, Get Over Your Fear Of Unvaccinated Children

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Flu viruses change as a result of genetic mutations. Which means that the flu we have this year may have changed in a way that is not the same as the previous year. For example, the vaccine made against the flu virus of 2010 may not be effective against the flu of 2011. New virus types emerge all the time, which is why a vaccination is required each new year. Flu shots are preventative; for that reason alone, they be should be considered.

In the 1950s, when the polio vaccine came out, the reaction of people was mixed. Today, the vaccinations are more precise and the technology has improved substantially. Vaccines now are very specific, and scientists know much more about the agents of vaccines. For example, the polio virus has RNA and not DNA, which means that scientists are able to make materials specific for an RNA virus, whereas in the past they were unable to do this because they did not have the technology to make the necessary discoveries. New technologies in science have allowed scientists to learn more about virus properties.

HIV and other viruses have a combined RNA and DNA and they can mutate and change their nucleic structure so vaccines are hard to produce. If a virus has both nucleic acids, it won’t be specific enough to create a vaccine for it. Which is why it has been hard to find an effective vaccine for HIV. The virus itself mutates and changes. Much like the flu virus, the HIV virus has different strains known as “serotypes” and because of that genetic mutation, vaccines have to be produced yearly or so. The structure of HIV is complex, there is no vaccine. Which may be one of the reasons they used to teach abstinence. HIV may not be curable. According to my father, it is also tenuous whether HIV is entirely treatable, however its effects can be minimized, and it is not as “dreadful” as it used to be. Patients can take a mega dose cocktail to lessen symptoms. [tagbox tag=”vaccination”]

Which brings me to the issue of unvaccinated children playing with vaccinated children. When I told my father this, he said that unfortunately people are misinformed. “Nothing will happen if unvaccinated children play with a vaccinated and immuned child,” he said. “It’s discrimination. It is not a biological exactitude. That said, the only individuals who will be at risk for highly contagious and infectious microbes like whooping cough, for example, are other unvaccinated children and those children should be isolated. If your child has been properly vaccinated and immuned, then the unvaccinated child poses no risk to your child.”

Preventable diseases are much more pronounced in developing countries because they don’t have the benefit of vaccinations that first world countries do. Some people take this for granted.

(Photo: ZanyZeus/Shutterstock)

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