I WAS headed to the office one morning when I passed by a group of children exchanging high fives calling each other names. The most playful of them all was in a gay mood calling one kid ‘Sanofi’ and calling the other ‘Dengvaxia.’ They were all laughing. For many of us Dengvaxia is a joke but for parents this idea always triggers fear.
When there was a flu vaccine immunization in our school, few only took advantage. I don’t know if others were not informed, not interested, or hesitant. There was joking in the clinic about Dengvaxia during the inoculation. The nurses just rode on with the joke although explaining the big difference between Dengvaxia and other kinds of immunization. It is because of fear that others do not want to get involved. This is what many parents feel now about the other kind of immunizations we have. This is the also the fear of the government that many would no longer participate in other immunization programs.
Yes there is reason to fear but it should not stop us from doing what’s best for our children. According to a report, there is already a decline of vaccination participation after the Dengvaxia fiasco. Some parents stopped bringing their children to health centers. This is alarming considering that failing to avail other vaccinations can have adverse effects on the health of our children. We should be aware that with the public’s awareness and participation with vaccinations in the past it resulted in the deterioration of malaria cases and other diseases in the country.
The Dengvaxia case gives us reasons to fear but we must put this fear in the right context. There was a problem with the immunization because recipients should have been pre-determined. Children who have had dengue before should have only be the beneficiaries and not everybody. This was a failure by both the manufacturer and the Department of Health. Sanofi Pasteur should have clearly discussed the nature of the dengue vaccine. Our DOH on its part should have not prematurely implemented the program without sufficient studies on its implication. It was a quick deal between the DOH and Sanofi that caused a number of deaths of children.
Yet again, this is one case that was overlooked. It is a separate case.
Our fear should make us wary and cautious to all medications in general but it should not stop us from taking proven vaccines. Immunization can prevent other form of diseases. Failure to do so can make our children develop health problems. The more it will become problematic especially with the high cost of medication today. The poor will suffer more. One blink and we could lost our earnings.
There are two types of fear according to the EdukasyonsaPagpapakatao (EsP) 10 Module. The first is the fear that makes one feels apprehensive or hesitant to make and act a decision but in the end he/she will do it.
The other fear is the feeling of distrust to one’s ability and the ability of others thus making a person do nothing. The Dengvaxia case is a big mess. There is proof to fear. But this fear should be overcome lest we expose ourselves with more problems. If we do not take advantage of other vaccinations, our children will be more vulnerable to disease-causing viruses.
As parents, information is a must to let go of our fears. When we go to hospitals, we must ask and understand what the vaccines are and for. We have the right to know. We have the right to be informed. Fear is oftentimes the result of lack and misinformation. We should not rely on ‘street talks’ and unfounded news we hear from unreliable mouths.
Fear is a normal emotion. Everyone feels it. But we should not get stuck with it especially on health concerns. Especially when the subject is the health of our children. Fear must be overcome. We overcome it by feeding ourselves correct information. If we do not fear, there is problem. The more it becomes dangerous. I still remember a dialogue between Oddyseaus and Achiles on the movie Troy. “The problem with you my friend,” says Oddyseaus to Achiles, “is you have no fear.” We become wiser once we overcome our fears. Our children will become safer when we surpass our fears.