The views expressed in this article are the author’s and are not necessarily the views of the partners.
I still remember the month of March 2020 when there was complete lockdown around the National Capital and our life had come to a screeching halt. On the one hand, it gave us — the working parents — an opportunity to spend quality time with our children, but on the other hand, our worries piled up with each passing day.
Whenever my 5-year-old sneezed or coughed, my pulse would race high. I would resort to home remedies, take precautions and earnestly pray to God to cure him and avoid any visit to the doctor. After all, who would want to visit a doctor amidst the times of pandemic and get infected?
And for the same reason, I kept postponing the doctor’s visit for my son’s vaccination too. I was disillusioned that in these unprecedented times, our only motive should be to stay safe from COVID-19. The diseases against which vaccinations are given are anyways rare and my son will never contract them.
It was my son’s paediatrician who called for a follow-up and to clear the air of myths. He emphasised that if a vaccine is delayed or missed in kids, then they are at increased risk of getting sick from a disease that is otherwise preventable by immunisation. He also added: “COVID-19 can be avoided by taking all the precautions, but proper immunisation is the only way to avoid vaccine-preventable diseases.”
This one statement jolted me. I scheduled my son’s vaccination the following day, but my mind was busy processing all the possible contact points. The doorknob, the chairs where we sit, the examination table where my son would be laid and the immunisation card that the doctor would sign-on. The most important of all, the play area which my son would be tempted to enter.
My son is 5 years old and so I spent the day explaining to him how he shouldn’t touch anything when we go to the clinic, not even his nose and eyes. I was trying to train him to hold my kurta and walk straight.
After a sleepless night, we got ready to go to the clinic. The doctor had already informed us to give him a call on reaching the clinic. We entered the clinic only when the earlier family had left. Clutching onto my son’s hand, we entered the clinic and we came out without coming in contact with a single thing, except for the needle prick. Want to know how?
Kids learn best from observations and when my son saw me being cautious at the clinic, he learned that there is a possibility of infection from every touch. Now he understands the importance of disinfection and staying clean always.
Earlier it was just a moral lesson to wash hands before and after meals. But now it is followed religiously. And for all the parents who are delaying the vaccination of their kids, let me tell you that the benefits of getting childhood vaccinations always outweigh the risk of COVID-19 infection. Stay safe and keep your kids safe.