Families, claiming that ‘there is pig blood in vaccines, the vaccines result in autism and Alzheimer diseases’, reject to vaccinate their children. While the number of vaccination rejection in Turkey in 2011 was 183, this figure rose up to 23 thousands in 2017. The scientists and sectoral stakeholders, who warn about the reawake of the old diseases and emergence of unprecedented diseases in case of the present rate of vaccination rejection, make the call that “The vaccines are safe medical products both for children and the public health”.
The numbers of patients who reject vaccination in childhood period and in risk groups are growing day by day. The most important reason for this is the claim that “there are pig blood and some harmful ingredients that cause Alzheimer disease in the vaccines”. According to the statistics of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the number of child deaths caused by preventable six diseases, i.e. whooping-cough, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, poliomyelitis and tuberculosis, was around 5 millions in 1989, owing to the developing vaccination practices this figure decreased to about 100 thousands. Most of child deaths are because of not being vaccinated.
In Turkey the situation is quite the opposite. According to the data of the Ministry of Health, in 2011, 183 families rejected to vaccinate their children, this number rose up to 900 in 2013 and to 12 thousands in 2016. When it comes to the year 2017, it is stated, over 23 thousands families rejected to vaccinate their children.
The scientists and the sectoral stakeholders, warning the families who oppose vaccination via Halagazeteciyiz.net, make the call that “The vaccines are safe and significant medical products for public health, and the children who are our future”.
THE TURKISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (TMA): ‘VACCINATIONS ARE SAFE MEDICAL PRODUCTS’
The Turkish Medical Association, in its last update of “The Ethical Committee Opinion on the Hesitations about Vaccination, Vaccination Rejection and Anti-Vaccination”, has declared that before vaccination, all vaccines are examined for effectiveness and safety, after vaccination, they are supervised for undesirable and side effects. Stating that the vaccines are safe medical products, the Association warned against the deceptions with the following determinations: “The frequency of the invasive bacterial infections after vaccination (BCG, BDT, KKK, and OPV) is not higher compared to the unvaccinated children. They do not cause the Guillain Barre Syndrome more frequently than the natural flu infection. The measles vaccination does not cause autism. The aluminum salts have been used in vaccines since 1930 to strengthen the immune response and its dose in vaccines is quite low. The researches on vaccinated children reveal that the aluminum level in the serums is far below the toxic level.
‘NO HARMFUL INGREDIENTS IN VACCINES’
Among the ones who are reacting the vaccination opponents is Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ceyhan, from the Department of the Infection Diseases of Hacettepe University. Ceyhan said: “People who are vaccinated for influenza should not worry about it. In vaccines there is certainly no ingredient that is harmful or causes Alzheimer disease. Yes, there is aluminum in some of childhood period vaccines, but its quantity is no more than the quantity of aluminum in tap water.” Emphasizing that the vaccination rejection may bring some troubles, Ceyhan remarked the increase in the whooping-cough cases. Warning that diseases such as poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus that have not been seen for years would be seen again, Ceyhan said that there were serious measles epidemics in the border regions and Balkans. Grounding the absence of this in Turkey on the good vaccination practices, Prof. Ceyhan emphasized the essentiality of vaccination of the children and the risk groups.
A statement similar to Prof. Ceyhan’s one has come from the Ministry of Health. Laying emphasis on the fact that the vaccines are quite safe biological products, the Ministry stated that they were strictly controlled during the production and distribution processes.
‘VACCINE PROTECTS NOT ONLY INDIVIDUAL BUT ALSO SOCIETY’
Another warning about vaccination has come from the Republican People’s Party’s Ankara Deputy and the Party Assembly Member, pharmaceutist Gamze Taşçıer stated that vaccination was a preventive medical precaution for all members of society especially against the epidemics. Expressing that the most important aspect of vaccination is the maintenance of public health and immunity, Taşçıer told that “By means of vaccination, the possibilities of epidemics could be reduced seriously and all members of society could be protected. But recently, some members of society have become vaccination opponents. Parents who reject to vaccinate their children undoubtedly endanger public health. If the opposition to vaccination grew, the epidemics would emerge in due course, lives of all the population, particularly those of the weak section of the society, would be threatened.”
Telling that she vaccinated both of her children in time and meticulously followed the process, Taşçıer gave the warning that “Because of the reasons that has become almost ‘well-known mistakes’ about the vaccines, a considerable amount of parents do not vaccinate their children. Due to the believes, with no scientific ground, such as the vaccines causing autism and due to the counterfactual information such that there is pig blood in vaccines and the ingredients of them are harmful, the vaccination opposition is ever-growing. This situation endangers not only the unvaccinated children, but also the health of the whole society. When the public health is at stake, the individualistic approaches can become threats.”
‘A LEGAL REGULATION HAS TO BE MADE’
Recalling the related articles of the Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of the Children, Taşçıer said that “The state has a positive duty to realize the vaccination, taking into consideration the best interest of the child. This positive duty has to be performed in line with the Constitution and the international conventions. For that reason, the vaccination operation that means a medical interference with the human body has to be predictably regulated to determine the conditions of it and by whom it is performed.”
‘VACCINATION OPPOSITION ARISES MOSTLY AMONG THE CONSERVATIVES’
Calling the scientists and the authorities for duty to reassure the doubts about vaccination as soon as possible, the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (PDP) Kocaeli Deputy Dr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu asked the citizens for taking into consideration the doctors’ opinions, not such urban tales. Stating that some of additive agents in vaccines cause some speculations, Gergerlioğlu rendered that the main duty fell to the medics. Demanding that the scientific research on vaccines should be explained to the public as soon as possible and all misunderstandings should be removed, Gergerlioğlu said that “using education to eliminate the misunderstandings, this urban tale has to be wiped out”.
Stating that the vaccination opposition is generally seen among the tradionalist and conservative families, Gergerlioğlu remarked that this situation spread among various sections of society for the time being. Gergerlioğlu warned as follows: “During the years I worked as a doctor, we tried well-enough to persuade people that believe urban tales such as ‘there is pig blood and similar harmful materials in vaccines’. There are actually significant diseases that cause epidemics. If you do not vaccinate some vaccines such as BSC just in time, you can be caught to tuberculosis and it may have very dangerous results. Diseases like poliomyelitis can become permanent and may have disastrous results. The public should take into consideration the opinions of medics and behave in line with them, not according to such rumors. There are several newly developing diseases. Recently we witnessed slow re-emergence of some of our classical diseases. This is a very dangerous situation. You can see that there is an increase in folio cases. Tuberculosis has not been ended yet at this era.”
Translation: Aydın Ördek