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Apa itu anti-vaksinasi?

Anti-vaksinasi adalah satu gerakan menentang vaksinasi di atas pelbagai sebab, termasuk kerana ia menimbulkan pelbagai masalah kesihatan, ia dilarang agama, atau ia melanggar hak individu untuk membuat pilihan perubatan.

 

Kenapa anti-vaksinasi menjadi isu panas sekarang?

Semakin hari, semakin ramai rakyat Malaysia yang menentang vaksinasi: 470 pada 2013 ke 1,292 pada 2014 dan 1,054 hingga ke Mei tahun ini. Akibat daripada ini, semakin ramai anak kecil yang jatuh sakit atau maut akibat penyakit-penyakit yang boleh dicegah:

 

     2014       2015    2016  (hingga kini)
Difteria 2 8 12
Demam campak 221 1318 873
Pertussis (batuk kokol)  497 939 163

 

Seorang kanak-kanak berumur 3 tahun meninggal dunia di Sabah akibat difteria, dan ia merupakan kematian ketiga di Malaysia tahun ini.

 

Apakah hujah-hujah anti-vaksinasi dan adakah ianya benar?

#1: Vaksin mengandungi bahan-bahan yang berbahaya

Thiomersal (atau thimerosal) dahulu sering diguna dalam vaksin sebagai pengawet. Namun apabila semakin ramai yang gusar mendedahkan anak kecil kepada thiomersal yang mengandungi merkuri, pihak US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) melaksanakan kajian pada 1999 dan mendapati tiada bukti bahan thiomersal memudaratkan dalam vaksin anak kecil. Jika anda risau, sila hubungi doktor pakar kanak-kanak anda.

Jel atau garam aluminium yang terkandung di dalam vaksin diguna untuk membantu tubuh kita membina imunisasi yang lebih kuat terhadap kuman di dalam vaksin tersebut. Kajian membuktikan bahan ini tidak mendatangkan risiko ketara kepada kanak-kanak. Aluminium juga terdapat di dalam susu ibu, formula bayi, dan air.

 

#2: Vaksin tidak halal

Timbalan Menteri Kesihatan Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya telah menjaminkan bahawa “semua vaksin adalah halal atau dibenarkan dalam Islam dan tidak mengandungi DNA khinzir”.

 

#3: Vaksin menyebabkan autisme

Pelbagai kajian telah dibuat untuk mengkaji hubungkait merkuri dan autisme serta lain-lain gangguan pembangunan neural kanak-kanak. Pada tahun 2004, Institut Perubatan membuat kesimpulan bahawa tidak wujud hubungkait yang jelas, tetapi mengesyorkan thiomersal tidak diguna sebagai bahan di dalam vaksin sebagai langkah keselamatan. Penggunaan thiomersal di dalam vaksin telah diberhentikan sejak 90an dan hanya digunakan di dalam beberapa ubat suntikan selesema. Jika anda ragu-ragu, sila hubungi doktor pakar kanak-kanak anda.

Kajian mendalam Dr Andrew Wakefield dari Britain pada 1998 yang menghubungkan autisme dengan vaksin kanak-kanak telah dinafikan. Beliau didapati memalsukan data dan menerima bayaran cukup besar dari sebuah syarikat farmaseutikal yang pada waktu itu sedang bersiap sedia untuk menyaman syarikat-syarikat pembuat vaksin.

 

#4: Vaksin menyebabkan pelbagai penyakit

Pelbagai kajian menunjukkan bahawa:

Vaksin Hepatitis B tidak menyebabkan sklerosis berbilang (multiple sclerosis).

Vaksin DTaP (difteria, tetanus, dan pertussis) tidak menyebabkan Sindrom Kematian Bayi Secara Mengejut (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS) malah menunjukkan risiko tersebut berkurangan.

Dan Sindrom Bayi Digoncang (Shaken Baby Syndrome) sering disebabkan oleh… anda menggoncang bayi anda.

 

#5: Vaksinasi terlalu membebankan sistem imun anak saya

Dari ketika anak dilahirkan, mereka terdedah kepada pelbagai kuman dan virus setiap hari apabila mereka makan makanan, bernafas dalam udara yang tercemar, atau meletakkan tangan ke dalam mulut. Anak kecil mendapat sedikit antibodi dari ibu mereka, tetapi ini hanya bertahan beberapa bulan dan mereka tidak menerima antibodi untuk melawan difteria, batuk kokol, polio, tetanus, Hepatitis B, atau Hib.

Memvaksin anak anda hanya mendedahkan mereka kepada ‘jangkitan ditiru’ – yakni versi kuman dan virus yang telah dilemahkan atau dibunuh – yang menyebabkan penghasilan antibodi. Sekiranya anak kecil anda diberi beberapa vaksin sekaligus, ianya mungkin lebih selesa buat si anak kecil, malah ia disyorkan untuk melindungi mereka dari penyakit seawal yang mungkin.

 

#6: Vaksinasi tidak semula jadi

Imuniti yang diperolehi secara semula jadi hanya datang dari penyakit itu sendiri dan ini amat berbahaya malah boleh mengakibatkan kematian. Imuniti yang diperolehi daripada vaksin sama sahaja keberkesanannya. Bayi anda mungkin mengalami demam selepas menerima satu dos vaksin, tetapi ia adalah kesan sampingan yang risiko yang cukup rendah berbanding mendedahkan bayi anda kepada jangkitan yang berbahaya yang datang dari alam sekitar.

 

#7: Vaksinasi itu satu konspirasi

Adakah syarikat-syarikat farmaseutikal dan doktor-doktor mengaut keuntungan yang cukup besar dari jualan vaksin?

Industri vaksin sebenarnya telah lama menghadapi pelbagai kesusahan. Margin keuntungan yang rendah bermakna tidak ramai yang berminat untuk melabur di dalam penyelidikan dan pembangunan kerana penghasilan sebuah vaksin memakan masa hampir 15 tahun tetapi ia hanya digunakan setahun sekali atau sekali sahaja di dalam kehidupan seseorang individu. Jumlah pembuat vaksin telah berkurangan sejak 70an – syarikat-syarikat sering menjual jabatan vaksin mereka atau memberhentikan terus pembuatan vaksin. Oleh kerana kos pembuatannya tinggi dan pulangannya rendah di samping peraturan-peraturan kesihatan yang ketat, penghasilan vaksin bukanlah satu bidang yang mudah dimasuki sesebuah syarikat farmaseutikal.

Walaupun industri vaksin kini mungkin boleh mendatangkan keuntungan, sebab utama vaksin masih dihasilkan ialah kerana satu sebab sahaja – wujudnya permintaan. Dan disebabkan vaksin lah penyakit cacar telah dibasmi sepenuhnya pada tahun 1979.

 

#8: Vaksin adalah pilihan saya dan tidak mendatangkan kesan kepada sesiapa kecuali anak saya

Salah. Seorang anak kecil yang tidak diberikan vaksin dan telah mengalami sesuatu penyakit boleh menjangkiti kanak-kanak lain yang belum lagi diberikan vaksin. Ini meningkatkan risiko sesuatu penyakit itu merebak, yang mungkin mendatangkan kesan yang parah, yang mungkin juga membawa maut. ‘Imuniti kumpulan’, di mana sebilangan besar ahli sesebuah komuniti itu telah menerima vaksin, boleh membendung penyakit dari merebak lebih luas atau menghapuskan terus sesuatu penyakit.

anti-vaksinasi
Sumber: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

 

Pelbagai kajian telah menunjukkan keberkesanan vaksin dan menafikan kesan-kesan sampingan yang kononnya berkait dengan vaksin, tetapi gerakan anti-vaksin terus mendapat dorongan oleh dakwaan kononnya wujud usaha mengekang komuniti Muslim oleh Barat, dan tokoh anti-vaksinasi Jenny McCarthy.

Perbincangan hangat kini timbul kembali di Malaysia dan ruangan siber, tetapi malangnya beberapa penyokong vaksinasi bagai menjadi buli. Berikut merupakan beberapa cadangan untuk mengurus perbicangan isu ini:

  • Pakar-pakar kata ‘jangan panggil mereka bodoh’. Jika orang lain menganggap anda menyerang nilai-nilai yang mereka pegang, mereka akan bersikap defensif – manakan tidak, mereka hanya memikirkan pilihan-pilihan yang terbaik buat anak mereka.
  • Ambil lah masa untuk mendengar kebimbangan mereka dan bukannya menjawab bertubi-tubi dengan maklumat. Kalau anda mampu mendengar hujah mereka, mereka juga mampu mendengar hujah anda.
  • Ingat, bukan semua ibubapa mempunyai akses yang sama kepada pendidikan dan maklumat. Carian mudah di Google pun menunjukkan soalan seperti ‘adakah vaksin itu halal’ memberi jawapan pertama sebagai laman web yang mendakwa vaksin mengandungi janin yang digugurkan, serum haiwan, nanah, sel kanser, dan adalah konspirasi Barat.
  • Gunakan metod ‘tunjuk, jangan cerita’ – tekankan bahaya penyakit-penyakit yang mungkin dijangkiti anak mereka sekiranya anak-anak itu tidak diberikan vaksin.

 

***

Sumber: thestar.comcdc.govwho.org

 anti-vaccination

What is anti-vaccination?

Anti-vaccination, or anti-vax, is a movement against vaccination for a wide variety of reasons, such as that it causes a wide range of health problems, it’s against religion, or it violates individual rights to medical decisions.

 

Why is anti-vaccination an issue now?

Malaysia is seeing an alarming rise of people against vaccination: 470 in 2013 to 1,292 in 2014 and 1,054 as of May this year. As a result, children are getting sick and dying from preventable diseases:

   2014       2015    2016  (so far)
Diphteria 2 8 12
Measles 221 1318 873
Pertussis (whooping cough)  497 939 163

A three-year-old boy died in Sabah last week from diphteria, marking the third such death in Malaysia this year.

 

What are the anti-vaccination arguments and are they true?

#1: Vaccines contain harmful ingredients.

Thiomersal (or thimerosal) was commonly used in vaccines as a preservative. However, when concerns grew about exposing infants to thiomersal which contains mercury, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a study in 1999 and found no evidence that the presence of thiomersal was harmful in childhood vaccines. If you are concerned, you may check with your paediatrician.

Aluminum gels or salts are used to help the body build a stronger immunity against the germ in the vaccine. Studies have proven that no significant risk is posed to infants. Aluminium is also present in breast milk, infant formula, and water.

 

#2: Vaccines are not halal.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Hilmi Yahaya has assured that “all vaccines are halal or permissible in Islam and does not contain pig DNA.”

 

#3: Vaccines cause autism.

Scores of studies have been conducted on the link between mercury and autism as well as other neurodevelopmental disorders. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is no definitive link, but recommended the removal of thiomersal from vaccines as a safety precaution. The use of thiomersal in vaccines has been phased out since the 90s and is present only in certain types of flu shots. If you are concerned, you may check with your paediatrician.

A 1998 prolific research by British author Dr. Andrew Wakefield linking autism to childhood vaccines has since been discredited. He was found to have falsified data and received a 6-figure sum from a pharmaceutical company that was preparing to sue vaccine manufacturers.

 

#4: Vaccines cause a variety of diseases.

Multiple studies have shown that:

Hepatitis B vaccinations do not cause multiple sclerosis.

DTaP vaccines (diphteria, tetanus, and pertussis) do not cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and in fact shows a decreased risk.

And Shaken Baby Syndrome is well, caused by shaking your baby.

 

#5: Vaccination overloads my child’s immune system.

From the moment babies are born, they are exposed to a host of bacterias and viruses on a daily basis from eating food, breathing contaminated air, or putting their hands in their mouths. They get some antibodies from their mothers but this only lasts a few months and they do not get antibodies against diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, or Hib.

Vaccinating your babies expose them only to ‘imitated infections’ – weakened or killed versions of the germs and viruses – which trigger the development of antibodies. Getting multiple vaccinations at once may be less traumatising for the baby, and is recommended in order to protect them from diseases from as young as possible.

 

#6: Vaccinating is not natural.

Naturally-acquired immunity from having the disease itself can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Immunity acquired from vaccinations is just as effective.  Your baby may develop a fever after receiving a dose of vaccination, but it is a side effect with an extremely low risk compared to being exposed to potentially dangerous infections from the environment.

 

#7: Vaccination is a conspiracy.

Do pharmaceutical companies and doctors stand to make a lot of money from selling vaccines?

The vaccine industry has struggled for decades. Profit margins were low and it attracted very little investment for research & development because the creation of a vaccine takes up to 15 years and is only administered once a year or in a lifetime. The number of vaccination manufacturers dropped steadily since the 70s – companies were selling off their vaccine divisions or stopped producing them altogether. Combine high production costs and low returns with tight regulations, it is an arena that many pharmaceutical companies are hesitant to step into.

While the vaccine industry is likely to be more profitable now, the reason why vaccines continue to be manufactured is simply for one reason – there is a demand. Thanks to vaccines, the smallpox, which has no cure, was eradicated in 1979.

 

#8: Vaccination is my choice and doesn’t affect anyone but my child.

Wrong. A child who has not been vaccinated and has contracted a disease could infect other children who have not been immunised. This risks the spread of the disease, which could lead to severe, even fatal consequences. ‘Herd immunity‘, a community where a large portion is immunised, can contain the spread or even altogether eliminate a disease.

anti-vaccination
Credit: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

 

 

Countless studies have proven the effectiveness of vaccines and discredited claimed side effects but the anti-vaccine movement has been continuously bolstered by allegations of Muslim population control by Westerners and celebrated anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy.

Heated discussions are rising again in Malaysia and cyberspace, with some vaccination advocates unfortunately bordering on bullying. Here are some suggested management methods:

  • Experts say ‘don’t call them dumb’. When you are perceived to be attacking their values, people will only get defensive – after all, they are only looking out for the best interests of their children.
  • Take some time to listen to their concerns instead of throwing information at them. If they’ve been heard, they’ll listen to you.
  • Remember that some parents may not have equal access to education and information. Even a quick Google search on ‘are vaccines halal’ present a website as the first result claiming that vaccines contain aborted fetuses, animal serum, pus, cancer cells, and is a Western conspiracy.
  • Use the ‘show, don’t tell’ method – emphasise on the dangers of the diseases that their children could contract if they are not vaccinated.

 

 

***

Sources: thestar.com, cdc.gov, who.org

As more and more women reach the glass ceiling, they face one final, seemingly unsurmountable barrier at work – being pregnant.

Have you heard of anyone bragging about having contractions at their work desks, utilising less than the given maternity leave, or seemingly not slowing down at work despite just having a child? If you have, it is because mothers are still made to feel that they need to juggle between work and home, or even that they prioritise their careers over their family.

This year, Citizens Advice in the UK revealed a 25% rise in people reporting pregnancy and maternity discrimination. Expectant and new mothers reached out to the organisation about reduced working hours, demotions, being pressured to cut their maternity leave short, and even being made redundant on the pretext of “organisational restructuring”.

A UK government commissioned research also found that 20% of mothers experienced harassment related to their pregnancy and access to flexible work hours, while 10% reported being discouraged from attending their prenatal classes.

Closer to home, Moon Su-jong, a web designer with a South Korean conglomerate, declined alcohol at a company night out. Her bosses guessed that she was pregnant and expressed outrage. They criticised her for passing on more work for her colleagues to shoulder, asked her when she was going to quit, and said that the firm should hire more men. She reported this to the HR manager, who agreed with her bosses. She quit five months later.

 

Noorfadilla_Ahmad_Saikin_1011_620_394_100
Credit: The Malay Mail Online

In 2014, Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin was awarded RM300,000 in a landmark case against the government, after she sued them for revoking her temporary teacher contract upon discovering her pregnancy. However, this year, the court slashed the awarded amount by 90%, calling it a “handsome profit”. In Malaysia, it is not illegal for an employer to ask an interview candidate if she’s pregnant, and the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has dismissed calls for laws protecting pregnant employees.

The voices from women in top management positions have differed over the recent years. CEO of Yahoo! Marissa Mayer was criticised for taking a two-week maternity leave after giving birth last year, while CEO of YouTube Susan Wojcicki wrote an op-ed on The Wall Street Journal ahead of a fifth pregnancy titled Paid Maternity Leave is Good For Business, saying that when Google increased its maternity leave to 18 weeks, the rate of new mothers quitting their jobs reduced by 50%.

Some countries have introduced policies to address the perceived role of a mother as the prime or sole caretaker of her child, such as paternity leaves. In South Korea, fathers are permitted up to 53 weeks of such leave, but less than 2% used this benefit in 2014. Fathers surveyed said that they would be more willing to take leave once it becomes more “socially acceptable and financially possible”, as men are still being paid more than their female counterparts, a regrettable condition that rings true in any part of the world.

How can we address this age-old issue about gender roles in workplace, and society? Can a woman be equally successful at her career and also as a carer of the family? Or should we start teaching our sons that men are not expected to be the sole or primary breadwinner, and that being a stay-at-home dad is not something to be embarassed about?

Share your stories and thoughts with us, we’d love to hear from you!

Have you suffered discrimination at the workplace because you’re a mother?

Yes, and I quit / was made to leave
Yes, and action was taken against my colleague / manager / employer
Yes, but nothing significant happened and I just stuck through it
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Does your partner take an equally proactive role in caring for the family?

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