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There is a fierce debate going on in the United States about safety of vaccination for children.

The number of people who are opting out of vaccines, while still very small, is growing. There are some people in countries like India too, who question the safety of vaccines. These are primarily a few wealthy, highly educated and westernised people in the cities.

Where do I stand in this debate?

Talking about the chances of vaccine induced problems like autism is a legitimate conversation in California, and will continue to be so as long as herd immunity exists. In such communities, there is already a high degree of herd immunity as most people are vaccinated. The risk of disease for a unvaccinated person is low.

This is simply not the case in India. Vaccine preventable diseases continue to be amongst the biggest killers in India. It is simply irresponsible and unsafe to avoid vaccinations for your child in India. Not only do you threaten the life of your child, but also contribute to the possibility of an outbreak or reoccurrence of an almost eliminated disease.

The elimination of polio and small pox are some of the biggest successes of our society. Hundreds of millions of people who live today owe their very existence to the eradication of small pox. Their parents survived because small pox was eliminated or because they were vaccinated against it.

Millions of children in India survive today because they were vaccinated against pneumonia, typhoid and other diseases.

This is not an intellectual elitist debate. Not in India. Vaccines save millions and will save your child.

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