The Health Board’s general vaccination campaign: ‘Thank you, Mum! Thank you, Dad!’
Well-known Estonian people thank their parents for having them vaccinated
Robert Linna, Riina Maidre, Pavel Botšarov, and Eduard Tee are the campaign’s influencers who are thanking their parents for having them vaccinated all those years ago. Vaccination is the reason that the number of cases of some of the more serious communicable diseases have significantly decreased, or even for those diseases having disappeared completely.
‘Based on the Estonian national immunisation schedule, the vaccination of children begins when they are infants. Children are vaccinated against twelve communicable diseases which may have serious consequences in the event of their being contracted or spreading through the population. Those diseases include tuberculosis, hepatitis B, rotavirus, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, haemophilus infection, human papillomavirus, measles, mumps, and rubella. Children are vaccinated at an early age to avoid the risk of them being infected. Some of the diseases which children are being vaccinated against may have an especially severe course in infants,’ explained Irina Filippova, chief specialist at the Health Board’s department of communicable diseases.
She highlighted pertussis, which may run a very severe course in infants. Furthermore, being infected with hepatitis B as an infant or a young child is very likely to cause chronic hepatitis, while rotavirus may give rise to a severe case of enteritis in a small child.
The vaccination coverage rate is used as an indicator of the general capabilities of a healthcare system, and of the availability of primary medical care. Almost 91% of two year-old children in Estonia and 94% of all children aged between seven months and fourteen years have been vaccinated under the immunisation schedule. ‘Vaccination is a very efficient and safe method of protecting a child from severe communicable diseases. Many communicable diseases have disappeared or are now under control thanks to high vaccination coverage. By vaccinating their children, any parent can also help to protect those children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons,’ explained Filippova.
Mart Maidre also decided to have his children vaccinated. ‘People should think about why vaccination is necessary. It’s not so much for others as it is for yourself. Vaccination has helped my children to remain healthy. This is the simplest proof of why vaccination is necessary,’ said the father of the actress, Riina Maidre.
Actor Eduard Tee, whose parents also had him vaccinated when he was a young child and who is very grateful for this, also shared his vaccination experiences. ‘A lot of attention was paid to children’s healthcare. All of those required vaccines were quite naturally administered at the right time. Everything that doctors do, they do for the good of your child’s health. Medicine has been developing for centuries to prevent diseases, or to treat them if necessary. We should trust medicine. Without your health, you will not be able to build a professional career,’ explained Eduard Tee’s father.
Vaccines are very efficient
‘Vaccination is a natural method for creating immunity. Vaccination creates a level of immunity which is similar to the immunity that is developed after having had a contagious disease, but without the risks or pain of actually having the disease,’ explained the chief specialist of the Health Board’s department of communicable diseases, adding that vaccination causes no harm to the immune system and does not result in the spread of any communicable diseases.
According to Filippova, the efficiency of vaccines is assessed based on the percentage of those individuals who have been vaccinated having developed antibodies, as well as the percentage of those who will not fall ill. ‘Thanks to the process of vaccination, the number of cases of some communicable diseases has significantly decreased, or such diseases have disappeared completely. Most of the vaccines which are administered during childhood ensure immunity for 95-99% of all individuals who have been vaccinated. The vaccine against pertussis (with ensured immunity for approximately 85% of vaccine recipients) and the vaccine against tuberculosis (with a success rate of up to 80%) are somewhat less efficient. Even if a child who has been vaccinated against a certain disease still falls ill with that disease, the course of the disease is a lot less severe than in the case of those who have not been vaccinated,’ said Filippova.
Vaccination is voluntary in Estonia. The vaccination service is available for all children in Estonia. In order to make an informed decision about whether or not to have one’s child vaccinated, that child’s parents or guardians must always proceed from evidence-based science and, if necessary, ask for advice from their family physician or family nurse, who can explain to the parents why vaccination is necessary, notify them of any potential side effects that may be related to immunisation, and advise them in terms of other vaccination-related questions.
A social experiment: why is it important to be vaccinated?