People has developed and used vaccines more than 50 years already. There are more than 10 vaccines available in the market to help protect both infants and adults people.
Most vaccines are produced to target infants and children because protecting infants and children might give more effectiveness in terms of social impact and healthcare impact. Just a few vaccines that targeted for adult population.
Vaccines has been accepted widely around the world, especially in developed countries such as United States, UK, France,… So, how about vaccine acceptance in Cambodia?
Vaccination is injecting viruses or at least some part of viruses or bacteria into healthy people. In Cambodia, vaccines has been introduce in 1995, during UNTAC era. But at that time, only hepatitis B vaccine that introduced. Until now, the mindset and the perspectives of Cambodian people about vaccines are still just a strange-thing-to-be-accept.
It is very hard, really hard to convince Cambodian people to get themselves or their children to get vaccinated. Currently Cambodian people are so deeply believes on National Immunization Program’s vaccines that are good, safe and ENOUGH. While all children or people in developed countries are enjoying the benefits of getting vaccinated from new vaccines, Cambodian people are too happy with more 20-year old vaccines such as BCG, whole-cell pertussis, diphtheria, and oral polio vaccines. These vaccines has been introduced since I was not yet born. Many severe adverse reaction has been reported from these vaccines but yet we still happy to get it even if we can afford the better one.
Speaking about new vaccines introducing, the tough-decision from MoH is just so difficult to engage while they don’t understand about some new concepts. They don’t even know what is disease awareness activities. I was quite surprise while they said that disease awareness is considered as product promote.
Here are some example of immunization schedule in some neighborhood countries (Thailand) and the United States. This example just to give you more view of where are we now in terms of protection against preventable disease compare to them.
Thailand Immunization Schedule 2013
United States Immunization Schedule
Vietnam Immunization Schedule
Cambodia Immunization Schedule
Now you can can see the differences between our current immunization schedule to the others countries both developed and developing countries. Vietnam is still better than us and yet we complain about them. We cannot even compare to Thailand Immunization schedule.
I hope to see a very busy immunization schedule in the next 4 or 5 years so that more Cambodian children will get protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. I hope and wish that next Cambodia’s PM will put “introduce new vaccines ton EPI programme” as part of their politic strategies, not just purely thinking of how to get the PM’s desk.
This is just my own observation and view. I didn’t mean to fight against anyone or any purpose to create any conflicts.
The Future of Cambodian Children is in our hands, your hands. So do not let any Cambodian children get infected by vaccine-preventable diseases. Get them vaccinated!!