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Adolescent Immunization schedule: Is there a need to re-look? by Dr Vipin M. Vashishtha

Adolescent Immunization schedule: Is there a need to re-look? by Dr Vipin M. Vashishtha

Adolescent immunization (AI) is one of the important yet the most neglected field in India. There is no adolescent-specific schedule in the government’s UIP. There is a lack of systematic epidemiological data defining the exact burden of various diseases in the adolescent period.

Immunization of adolescents is vital. The Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) is having a separate adolescent immunization schedule for the private sector, but it was not revised in recent past. With the changing epidemiology of certain vaccine-preventable diseases, rapid development in the field of vaccinology, and the advent of some new, more refined vaccines, there is a need to revisit the existing adolescent schedule.

There should be only two categories of AI, namely, “Vaccines for all adolescents” and “Vaccines to be given under special circumstances” should be formed.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is truly an adolescent-specific vaccine and should remain at the top on the priority list considering the significant burden of cervical cancer in India.

Dengue, the fastest spreading viral infection in the world, is also the number one concern for India. Dengue is primarily a disease of adolescents and adults. At least three Indian companies are involved in developing new dengue vaccine. With the availability of more ‘refined’ vaccines, its integration in the list of essential adolescent vaccines would make sense.

Tdap along with HPV vaccine is so far considered as a ‘mandatory’ adolescent vaccine. The experts are now opening to adopt an alternate strategy to use Tdap in anticipation of a local pertussis outbreak rather than on a routine basis in adolescents since it provides only a short- term protection against pertussis.

Mumps is yet another vaccine that needs to be pushed up in the schedule. At least, a single- dose of mumps/MMR is a must for every adolescent irrespective of their past vaccination status. Hepatitis-A, typhoid, varicella, and Hepatitis-B are other diseases against which vaccination should be given a high priority for catch-up immunization of adolescents.

Hence, it is crucial to have a serious relook on the need and utility of the immunization schedule for adolescents. The GoI should also chalk out a separate Adolescent specific immunization schedule, and the IAP should also relook and revise its existing schedule.

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Dr Vipin M. Vashishtha, MD, FIAP, is a pediatrician and Director & Consultant Pediatrician of Mangla Hospital & Research Center. He’s been extensively involved in research and has published over 170 articles in national and international indexed journals, edited & published 14 books on VPDs & vaccines.  

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  1. Science is always changing, what is good science today may be considered bad science in 20 years. Unfortunately vaccine science is still in a primitive state, it is kept that way as any type of well-designed high-quality studies are considered ‘unethical’, leaving researchers with their hands tied as to what they can test.

    Vaccine safety is only supported by studies which don’t use real placebos, the Vaxxed Vs Unvaxxed is never allowed, ‘unethical’ they say. Though when independent scientists have performed small-scale studies like this, the unvaccinated come out a lot healthier, with lower rates of asthma, epilepsy, eczema and less neurodevelopmental problems.

    Epidemiological studies are known to be both insufficient and easy to cook. These types of studies were used for years to tell the public that smoking didn’t cause cancer. Now the vaccine-maker’s have taken the baton, using the same tricks as the tobacco industry once did. What we really need is mechanistic studies and at the cellular level. Of course this won’t be considered ethical in humans, but we can still use mice, sheep etc, justified for the ‘greater good’ of humanity, studying behaviour and overall health outcomes, then perform post mortems on the animals to investigate the mechanistic effect of the vaccine and to search for which of the vaccine ingredients remained in the body.

    Currently if an expert intends to perform such studies, he/she will find it incredibly hard to get funding. One timely example is the one of Professor Christopher Exley, one of the leading experts on aluminium, who has been having to crowdfund in order to research the safety of the aluminium in vaccines. When you research something which could potentially have a negative impact on big industry (e.g. compensation payouts, reputations damaged, new improved products required), your funding tends to dry up. Professor Exley is having run a GoFundMe to in order to fund his research (research which has never been performed, safety assumed by industry).

    The industry is living in fear, as they know if solid studies are allowed there could be serious consequences, with powerful individuals being held responsible, reputations ruined and a colossal total compensation sum. That seems potentially the real reason for the push for forced vaccination, so as to remove the unvaccinated controls from the population, their superior health being the smoking gun of the failure of vaccine science.