Yemeni children…victims of vaccine misconceptions
Yemeni families still refuse to vaccinate their children with safe medical vaccines because they believe it does more harm than good and causes their children to become ill in the long run. This misconception about vaccines is common among Yemeni families, despite the fact that awareness campaigns by Yemeni health authorities and health organizations confirm the safety and effectiveness of vaccines in protecting their children from infectious diseases such as polio, measles and measles, and preventing them from infections.
Globally, vaccines save an estimated 2 to 3 million lives each year, according to UNICEF estimates, which have confirmed that vaccines are key tools to protect ourselves and our communities.
Umm Omar (pseudonym) says she wanted to vaccinate her child when he was four months old, but her husband’s family refused because they believed that vaccination would affect his birth process and lead to infertility when he grew up. Umm Omar’s family justified the refusal of the vaccine by saying that the harshness of life will create a strong immunity with which he can resist all diseases and that he does not need a vaccine that comes from the West. Umm Omar’s family from the province of Taiz found themselves facing a different reality. Her child, Omar, fell ill with whooping cough and contracted measles.
In light of the weakness of the country’s health system, some Yemeni families pass on false beliefs about vaccines, which has increased the negative impact on people’s health awareness.
Muhamashin’s situation is no different from other Yemeni families in terms of their refusal to get vaccinated with safe and effective vaccines. The Secretary General of the National Muhammadan Community, Saleh Al-Madhi, confirmed that misconceptions about vaccines are widespread among marginalized groups who refuse to vaccinate their children because they believe it harms their health, while some Muhammadans have claimed that their physique and ruggedness give them resistance to disease. , especially by living in difficult living conditions and a harsh environment.
Al-Moday believes that marginalized groups, in general, do not have knowledge about the importance of vaccination, which requires health authorities to work on spreading health culture and forming awareness among them, in order to prevent infectious, contagious or genetic diseases. The Muhammadan community also needs to consolidate a culture of health and the importance of spreading awareness about the importance of vaccinating children to ensure protection against diseases that can kill their bodies, the suit said.
Vaccines help the body’s immune system fight infections more effectively by triggering immune responses against specific diseases. And then if a virus or germ invades the body in the future, the immune system will know how to fight that virus or germ, according to UNICEF.
Nazira Qaed, one of the workers in the vaccination campaigns at the Health Office in the Taiz Governorate, and due to the nature of her work, she faces numerous questions about the insecurity of vaccines every day, and she tries to solve rumors and the lack of scientific knowledge. information about vaccines and their impact on children.
One of the false rumors that the Qaid worker combats is that vaccination causes disease and infertility, noting that vaccination campaign workers face great difficulty in convincing these families to vaccinate their children, and refuse to allow them to vaccinate their children altogether.
Qaed pointed out that some families adopt a “conspiracy theory”, according to which the West produces vaccines, and they do not love us and do not wish us well. In most of the different vaccination campaigns in which a worker works as a leader, accompanied by medical teams who vaccinate children home, many families refuse to vaccinate their children, and these families do not follow the advice of the medical and nursing teams.
Qaed addressed a series of rumors and misinformation, including that vaccines were unsafe and not refrigerated due to poor service and a lack of government electricity services.
Recently, the health office in the province assigned a health educator to accompany the medical teams with the aim of spreading the vaccination culture among the Yemenis. According to Nazira, there are those who respond, and there are those who still believe that the vaccine harms their child.
It is important to note that the Department of Immunization in the Ministry of Health has organized several campaigns against polio, cholera virus, measles and Covid 19, according to Al-Nimr, and most campaigns reach 90% of the targeted beneficiaries, while the percentage of those who refuse to be vaccinated is around 5 -10%, out of the total target of 612 thousand. More than 30,000 people refuse vaccination, a high percentage for Taiz province alone, but more than 50% refused to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
Fahd Al-Nimr, director of the Department of Immunization in Taiz Governorate, says: “Health personnel face difficulties due to the refusal of some families to receive vaccines during field immunization campaigns, which is the result of misconceptions about vaccines, in addition to linking them to the religious aspect vaccine bans, and this indicates a weak awareness of the community.”
Al-Nimr explains that awareness-raising and counseling are the prerogative of the Department of Health Education at the Ministry of Health. From time to time, the directorate carries out awareness and guidance campaigns, but this is not enough, and considers that the responsibility for increasing family demand for child vaccination campaigns is a joint process of the health authorities and the community itself, and emphasizes that the importance of communication with local authorities in administrations, community committees , neighborhood leaders and influential people from the community who are close to the people. In order to ensure the success of the programmed immunization campaigns.
The reluctance of families to vaccinate and their remaining captive to wrong ideas had disastrous consequences for their children. According to al-Nimr, many cases of children infected with the polio virus and measles occurred in some districts of Taiz, due to the fact that children were not allowed to be vaccinated with vaccines that prevent them from contracting these diseases.
Statistics published by the Yemeni Acute Paralysis Monitoring Center of the Ministry of Health under the government in Sana’a showed that cases of polio have started to rise dramatically in many provinces, which the center considers a great danger and heralds a pandemic.
According to the center, the number of cases of acute flaccid paralysis detected in the current year reached about 827 cases, and last August the number of cases reached 183 cases, including 56 contacts and 115 cases of infection.
According to data from the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, in the current year 2022, Yemen received more than 12.4 million doses of polio vaccine, and it is expected that more than 10 million children under the age of ten will be vaccinated with them. .
In the first quarter of this year, more than 2.2 million children under the age of 10 were vaccinated against polio in a “house-to-house” vaccination campaign in 12 Yemeni provinces, according to UNICEF.
Regular vaccination of children
This list contains all 17 vaccines that should be given to infants, children, and adolescents according to the US Agency for Pediatrics and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Hepatitis B vaccine: This vaccine is given to most newborns before they are discharged from the hospital. The first dose is given at birth, the second dose at the age of 1 to 2 months, and the third dose at the age of 6 to 18 months. Rotavirus vaccine: two doses of the vaccine are given, the first dose is given at the age of two months, and the second dose at the age of 4 months. With the second vaccine, the first dose is given at the age of two months, the second dose at the age of 4 months, and the third dose at the age of 6 months With the vaccine against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib): three doses of the vaccine are given, the first dose is given at the age of two months, and the second dose The second dose at the age of 4 months, and the third dose at the age of 12 to 15 months. With the second vaccine, the first dose is given at the age of 2 months, the second dose at the age of 4 months, the third dose at the age of 6 months, and the fourth dose at the age of 12 to 15 months.
Polio vaccine: four doses of the vaccine are given. The first dose is given at the age of 2 months, the second dose at the age of 4 months, the third dose at the age of 6 to 18 months, and the fourth dose at the age of 4 to 6 years.
Diphtheria-tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (DTaP) vaccine: Children under the age of seven receive DTaP. Five doses of the DTaP vaccine are given. The first dose is given at the age of 2 months, the second dose at the age of 4 months, the third dose at the age of 6 months, the fourth dose at the age of 15 to 18 months and the fifth dose at the age of 4 to 6 years. .
DTaP is supplemented with a single booster dose of the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine at age 11 to 12.
Pneumococcal vaccine: four doses of the vaccine are given. The first dose is given at the age of 2 months, the second dose at the age of 4 months, the third dose at the age of 6 months, and the fourth dose at the age of 12 to 15 months.
Meningococcal vaccine: two doses of the vaccine are given. The first dose is given at the age of 11 to 12 years, and the second dose at the age of 16.
Flu vaccine: The flu vaccine should be given once a year for all children, starting at 6 months of age. There are two types of vaccines available. One or two doses are needed, depending on age and other factors. Most children only need one dose. Children aged 6 months to 8 years who have received less than 2 doses or whose flu vaccination history is unknown should receive 2 doses at least 4 weeks apart.
Measles, mumps and rubella vaccine: two doses of the vaccine are given. The first dose is given at the age of 12 to 15 months, and the second dose at the age of 4 to 6 years.
Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine: two doses of the vaccine are given. The first dose is given at the age of 12 to 15 months, and the second dose at the age of 4 to 6 years.
Hepatitis A vaccine: Two doses of the vaccine are required for permanent protection. The first dose is given at the age of 12 to 23 months, and the second dose is given 6 months after the first dose. All unvaccinated children older than 24 months should receive two doses of hepatitis A vaccine.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine: Routine vaccination is recommended for adolescents aged 11 to 12, and it is also recommended for people who have not been vaccinated or who have not been adequately vaccinated until the age of 26.
* Published in agreement with the website “Glas Muhameda”.