Once born, children are given several vaccines to protect them from infections and different diseases. The latest vaccine included is the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine also known as PCV. However, this vaccine is surrounded by a lot of myths forcing some women to stop their children from accessing it. Mwereti Kanjo writes:-
Pneumonia and meningitis is fast becoming one of the worldâ€™s deadliest diseases, especially among children. Realising the threat that the disease has on children, a vaccine- Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) was introduced.
According to Dr. Precious Makondi of Shifa Hospital, the vaccine is necessary for the prevention of pneumococcal diseases caused by a bacteria like otitis media (severe ear infection), pneumonia, and meningitis. The diseases can cause loss of hearing, blindness, seizures, paralysis and even death.
Nevertheless, the vaccine has locally met resistance from some parents in both rural and urban area. They believe that it can sterilise children, and cause physical disability in children.
He attributes these rumours to lack of knowledge on the importance of vaccines. Some people shun them on religious grounds, fear of getting their kids infected wth HIV/Aids, and the fear that they cause like epilepsy.
But how does PCV work?
According to emedicinehealth.com, apart from what Dr. Makondi said, Pneumococcal bacteria can also infect the lungs, blood, and brain.
PCV contains seven different types of pneumococcal bacteria. It works by exposing your child to a small dose of the bacteria, and the body develops immunity to the disease. However, PCV will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.
PCV is for use only in children between the ages of six weeks and 10 years. For adults and older children, another vaccine called Pneumovax vaccine is used.
Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.
Makondi encourages parents and guardians to let their kids access the vaccine considering the benefits it has.