Do you know that smallpox killed over 500 million people? It was only after its vaccine was discovered that it stopped being classified as a deadly, life-threatening disease. The Spanish flu and AIDS are other examples whose stories came to a halt with their vaccines.
However, despite history’s lessons, in the last ten years, some people shifted towards not getting their children vaccinated due to ‘safety’, religious and philosophical reasons. Celebrities and other popular figures also voiced their concerns in favor due to ‘things that they had heard’ and other media reports. According to The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacy and Therapeutics, because of rarely occurring problems related to vaccines, 12% of parents delay the offspring’s vaccination.
COVID-19 – a respiratory tract infection with symptoms of the common flu is a current example of how important and vital a vaccine is. Scientists, researchers, and health specialists all over the world are trying to discover its cure. In the UAE 14,000+ people have gotten infected and 126 have died. Unless the curfew measures put in place are not entertained for a longer time, the virus may continue to spread beyond control.
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Here are the top reasons why you should get vaccinated:
· Vaccines keep you healthy. According to CDC- the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, if you skip your vaccines, you leave yourself vulnerable to illnesses such as shingles, pneumococcal disease, influenza, and HPV and hepatitis B, both leading causes of cancer.
· If you’re vaccinated, you cannot be a carrier of a disease and pass it on to people who aren’t vaccinated for it.
· Vaccines are among the safest products of medicine. There’s little to no solid proof that they can cause damage to the body.
· You cannot catch a disease from a vaccine. The virus inside some vaccines cannot get active in your body.
· Getting vaccinated is better than falling sick and spending a huge figure on the treatment of the disease.
· Healthy people can also get sick. You never know how strong your immune system is and pre-existing health conditions can put you at a greater risk.
Hakeem Fact: In 2004, the UAE was declared polio-free because the country offers free immunization services. (From birth to age 11)
How can I get my baby vaccinated in the UAE?
You can get your child vaccinated by visiting the nearest public health center with the following documents: passport of parents, Emirates ID of both parents, baby’s passport copy, birth certificate of the baby, one passport size photo of your child, and latest Dewa bill. The vaccination process is free of cost, but it can be performed only if a health card is made which costs Dh120.
Which diseases does the immunization program cover?
The list is as follows:
· BCG: Bacillus, Calmette-Guerin (against tuberculosis)
· DPT: Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus
· DTaP: Diphtheria, Tetanus, and acellular Pertussis
· Hep B: Hepatitis B
· Hexavalent: DTaP, Hib, Hep B and IPV
· Hib: Haemophilus Influenzae Type B
· HPV: Human Papillomavirus
· IPV: Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine
· MMR: Measles, Mumps and Rubella
· OPV: Oral Poliovirus Vaccine
· PCV: Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
· Pentavalent: DPT, Hib and Hep B
· Tdap: Tetanus, reduced Diphtheria and reduced Pertussis
· Tetravalent: DTaP and Hib.
Can I get my child vaccinated by a private hospital or clinic in the UAE?
Yes, you can. However, it is costly and the prices vary. Some parents prefer it because of the quality of treatment being offered with the doctor of their choice and no waiting. Do note that not all insurance companies cover vaccinations because preventive medicine is usually excluded from the plans.
Due to the COVID-19 private hospitals in the UAE are not vaccinating patients until further notice.
Do I need to be vaccinated before traveling to the UAE?
It depends on where you’re traveling from. The regulations are different for various countries. However, recommended travel vaccinations for the UAE include vaccines for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Rabies, and Anthrax. Routine vaccines for traveling to the UAE include vaccines for Pneumonia, Influenza, and Polio.
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Are there people who cannot get vaccines?
Babies who are less than two months old and people with certain medical conditions are not to get vaccines. Some people do not ‘react well’ to vaccines. However, it is even more important for the rest of us to get vaccinated so that we don’t pass on diseases to these people.
Hakeem’s say: It takes years of research, development, and rigorous testing before a vaccine is approved and released to the public. Even after that, the vaccine is continuously monitored and advanced. There is no benefit in depriving your child of vaccinations that can help save his/her life.
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