Wednesday, June 29

Check on the spread of hoaxes about vaccines in children | Actuality | Mamas & Papas


The vaccine is the most powerful invention in public health. For a year since the pandemic caused by covid-19 began, vaccines monopolize almost all conversations, they are the hope of returning to the old normality. This is why the Spanish Pediatric Association (AEP), a scientific society that represents about 14,000 pediatricians, has launched the campaign Vaccines comply to reinforce confidence in the effectiveness and safety of childhood vaccination.

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As part of the campaign, the AEP has created a web where chronological information is offered on how the childhood vaccination schedule has been configured over the last decades. “To those who are distrustful of vaccines we want to offer reliable arguments and clear information to generate safety in the population,” says the Coordinator of the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the AEP, Dr. Francisco Álvarez. In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared mistrust in the safety and effectiveness of vaccination one of the main threats to global health.

The initiative aims to put in check the dissemination of hoaxes about vaccines. In this sense, the AEP has counted for this campaign with the collaboration of the verification organization Maldita.es with which he has elaborated a decalogue of recommendations to detect misinformation about vaccines offering advice to deactivate hoaxes by avoiding their spread. “Vaccines save lives and the hoaxes of the supposed anti-vaccines and deniers are doing a lot of damage to society,” says Álvarez. Vaccine misinformation appeals to fear or its side effects. The reality is that each year vaccines prevent 2.5 million deaths worldwide.

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The doctor recalls that the first vaccines arrived in Spain in 1800, but it was not until the 20th century that campaigns began to be carried out to reduce the high mortality and disability caused by infectious diseases such as smallpox, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, measles or whooping cough. In 1975, the first systematized vaccination schedule for the child population was introduced. Almost 50 years later, some infections have been eradicated and others are close. “This achievement is fragile and we have a responsibility as a society when it comes to maintaining it,” says Álvarez, who has been in charge of the scientific supervision of all the contents of the campaign.

Before a message from a WhatsApp chain, the decalogue always recommends asking yourself: Does it give any data or source? “You don’t have to stay alone with the headline, you always have to read the complete information. However, he is always suspicious of the content and you should not share the chain unless you are completely sure that it is reliable information, ”says Álvarez.

In addition, a series of small videos have been made in the campaign where a Spanish family is shown celebrating different birthdays. The age of each character represents the year a major vaccine was introduced in the immunization schedule. For example, 77-year-old Clara was born in 1944, during World War II. The video explains that that same year the mandatory immunization against smallpox was made official.

Currently, “it is the only disease that has managed to be eradicated through vaccination after the effort promoted by the World Health Organization and the support of many countries. Following WHO guidelines, massive vaccination campaigns were organized until smallpox was declared eradicated in 1979. Vaccination was no longer necessary and was suspended in 1980 ”, explains the commercial.

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The youngest of the family is Hugo, one year old, who represents the nearly 350,000 children who come to the world each year in Spain. More than 95% will receive all the vaccines included in the official calendar during their childhood and adolescence and will reach adulthood, protected against most preventable infectious diseases. The vaccination schedule for Spanish children and adolescents includes vaccines against at least 14 infectious diseases. The most recent have been the anti-pneumococcal, since 2015, and the tetravalent meningococcal, since 2019.

But the story does not end here. It is expected that, in the coming years, new vaccines that are already available such as SARS-CoV-2 will be incorporated. “The first studies that show the effectiveness of the vaccine against covid-19 in children have already come out, and in the future they will all be vaccinated,” concludes Álvarez.

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