Sunday, November 1, 2009


Polio -- this is the one word which kind of changed the dimension of my life. Born a healthy child and supposedly infected by it after being administered the drops at the age of 6 months, the trauma I had to go through to get my kid immunized with it is unspeakable and cannot be expressed.

Though, the final report is that my leg problem is not polio, it is the muscle wastage because of some nerve damage due to incorrect needle prick rather than anything.. the term still scares the hell out of me... limping for life, termed handicapped by many, looked down upon unnecessarily, it is the one word that kind of describes my existence, survival or whatever.

So, when it was time for Sreya to be put through this ordeal, one can only imagine as to what all the thought process went into it... so, the doctor seeing me scared the hell out of my wits gave me whole lot of reassurance and helped me out in a lot of ways treating and preparing me mentally before treating Sreya for which I would be eternally thankful to him. He assured me that it was not VAPP (vaccine-associated poliomyelitis paralysis) that I have and however, he suggested me an option for my fear, IPV, God-send for the paranoid me.

Eradicating that very deadly polio is very very important for our future generations and in almost all the developing countries OPV (oral polio vaccine) is widely distributed and administered free of cost and it is ensured that the message is reached far and wide and every single kid benefits from this. However, IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) is something like a dead-virus vaccine in layman terms which eliminates even the remotest possibility of VAPP... How???

How does a vaccine work.. in layman terminology is an effective method of containing infectious diseases.. the bug (bacteria/virus) either killed or inactivated in the form of vaccine is introduced into the body and the body cells fight against it and develop an immunity towards that particular agent (as far as I can gather). So, in very remote cases, there is a possibility that the induced bug acts up and the vaccine becomes the source of infection, very very very minimal, but still there is a possibility. IPV is thus an inactivated form of the vaccine which contains all the three serum types of the vaccine which eliminates even that remotest possibility.

Then, how come it is not available to all the people.. because of the incremental cost of producing the vaccine. OPV is easy to administer, even a layman can do that, just giving the drops and like they say something is better than nothing and since polio is almost eradicated, it is just a post-eradication measure, the mass polio vaccination, that is. It is also believed my some people that once complete eradication of the disease is declared OPV may be the only mode of acquiring the disease (an assumption at this point). So, IPV at any rate is better than OPV.

However, there is something called secondary immunization following exposure to the same or closely related say, we exposed the kid to polio vaccine and then we need follow that exposure with secondary immunization just to be sure. So, my pediatrician says it is always a good idea to take the kid to OPV camps when they are announced just to ensure the secondary immunization.

I did extensive reading on this, brain-picked my pediatrician and finally went ahead with IPV.. a simple choice for many parents but a crucial one just for me because of my problem.

So, done with IPV for the kid, I would just follow it through with OPV at the designated time at a designated place.

Good luck with vaccines guys!!!

For more reading on the same..

check the link.

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