Vaccination is not about business, health minister says

Experts point to the need to raise awareness about mandatory vaccination.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

Slovaks need to obtain more relevant information about mandatory vaccination. It is necessary to stress why it is necessary and that it protects children from serious health complications, said Health Minister Tomáš Drucker (Smer nominee).

His comments were part of the conference on vaccination, organised by chair of the parliamentary health committee Štefan Zelník of the Slovak National Party (SNS), the TASR newswire reported.

Drucker does not want people to think he promotes the importance of vaccination because of business. He rejects such claims, saying it is about public health. Vaccination can protect children from death.

It is necessary to raise public awareness about mandatory vaccination in educational institutions. The debates may, for example, take place already at primary schools, Drucker said. He prefers education rather than sanctions.

The minister is also aware of the discussion on mandatory vaccination that has recently started, as well as the proposal not to accept unvaccinated children to state kindergartens.

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Epidemiologist Zuzana Krištúfková would support such a proposal, while the chief hygienist in Slovakia Ján Mikas from the Public Health Authority stresses the need for a proper professional debate.

“It is necessary to look at legislative possibilities as it is not so easy,” Mikas said, as quoted by TASR.

He also supports raising the awareness among parents, children’s doctors and young people about mandatory vaccination.

The MPs also discussed whether a family should be compensated if their children suffered from health problems after being vaccinated. Mikas stresses a comprehensive look at the whole topic. He does not oppose any discussion about this matter that would start, however.

Krištúfková responded that there are only a few cases of serious complications after a child is vaccinated and that doctors deal with them responsibly. Most often, children have a higher temperate and the place around the needle mark hurts. Children are outraged and often cry. Some children may react with allergies, but these cases are not very frequent, Krištúfková said, as reported by TASR.

The rate of mandatory vaccination in most cases exceeds the 95 percent threshold necessary for securing collective immunity. The only exceptions are vaccinations against measles, rubella and mumps. The lower vaccination rate concerns mostly children born in 2014, TASR wrote.

Currently, the mandatory vaccination concerns 10 illnesses in Slovakia: measles, rubella, mumps, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis B, invasive Haemophilus influenzae infections and invasive pneumococcal diseases.

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