Innocent children have the right to play without fear of catching measles, pertussis, chickenpox and many other diseases from their friends whose parents refused to vaccinate them, said paediatrician and neonatologist Dr Musa Mohd Nordin.
Dr Musa, who is the consultant paediatrician and neonatologist at Damansara Specialist Hospital, said the children would have 23 times increased risk of pertussis, nine times of chickenpox and other diseases if their parents refused to vaccinate them.
“Like smoking, with increased risk of cancer and heart disease, the Health Ministry has ruled that you take your smoke elsewhere and do not share with others.
“Similarly, innocent children have the right to play without the fear of catching measles, pertussis, chickenpox or other diseases from their friends whose parents believe everything they read on the internet. Freedom of choice is a good thing, freedom to harm others is not,” he told Bernama when contacted.
He said the concern that multiple vaccine administration would weaken and overwhelm the immune system of the susceptible child is scientifically flawed.
Dr Musa explained that children’s immune system is much more robust than what people might have imagined.
“The cells are constantly restored and it is estimated that if all the schedule vaccines were given to a child at one time, only 0.1 percent of the immune space would be used up.
“The currently available vaccines also contain fewer antigens. In the past, a single smallpox dose had 200 antigens. Today, there are only 150 antigens in the 14 vaccines given to young children,” he said.
He said real-world experience archived that smallpox killed 300 million people in the 20th century before it was eradicated by the World Health Organisation global vaccine campaign in 1980.
According to Dr Musa, vaccines prevent 2.5 million deaths and three-quarters of a million disabilities each year, and there is an opportunity to save another 2.5 million lives annually if vaccines are used more widely.
“If anything, children with ‘dormant underlying diseases' should be immunised since they are very susceptible to infections. There is no evidence to suggest vaccines trigger these exacerbations,” he said.