Swasth Immunised India: Kareena Kapoor Khan Launches Nation-Wide Vaccination Campaign
After apprising India with ‘What Women Want’ through her radio show, actor Kareena Kapoor Khan is now making sure that every child in the country gets vaccinated.
Herself a mother of a two-year-old boy, Kareena stressed on the need to ensure that every child gets vaccinated regularly at the launch of Swasth Immunised India, a year-long campaign initiated by Network18 and Serum Institute of India, at Mumbai’s Four Seasons Hotel on Thursday.
Adar Poonawalla, President, Vaccine Manufacturers Association of India and CEO, Serum Institute of India (SII), Natasha Poonawalla, Executive Director, SII, and Dr Nitin Shah, section head of pediatrics department at PD Hinduja National Hospital, Mumbai were also present at the event.
On her becoming the campaign’s ambassador, Kareena said, "I feel my life is in Taimur's hands. If a mother can protect her child in any way, why shouldn’t she? The idea is to educate people, make them believe in immunisation and vaccination. It was an absolute no brainer for me to be a part of this.”
Talking about the need to rope in a celebrity to promote the initiative, Adar said, “We are supposed to trust the medical fraternity but sometimes you need that additional push. These are the icons that people look up to and when they speak, the public generally tends to agree and listen.”
“On this platform, we have leading paediatricians and celebrities speaking in one voice so that it’s impartial, unbiased and it can drive the message home,” he added.
Highlighting the power of having a Bollywood star on board, Dr Shah said, “If Kareena says a vaccine is safe, it is safe whether I say it or not.”
Adding to it, Kareena said, “I think that’s the case with the polio campaign as well. People would hear Mr. Bachchan sternly tell them to take their children for polio drops. They feared that if they didn’t, he would get angry. Now, look at it today. We have almost eradicated it completely.”
On the importance of immunisation, Dr Shah said, “It is one of the most cost-effective public health measure invented by the mankind. While we know breastfeeding, clean environment, hand hygiene and good nutrition are important, immunisation is something that we have invented. If it can save lives at a throwaway price, then why not?”
Meanwhile, Natasha urged people to rise above miseducation, which she said was often spread on social media. “Facts have proven that vaccines do not hurt children, that they prevent life-threatening diseases. I don’t understand why a mother would cross-question it,” she said.
“What we give is a booster to the MMR vaccine that every paediatrician gives. Why are we questioning paediatricians, health authorities when they have degrees and obviously know better than us? Why are we not trusting them,” she asked.
Meanwhile, Kareena also said the aim of the initiative was to reach people even in the most remote regions. “It’s a lot more than a digital campaign. The idea is to reach out to the remotest of villages. They either don’t have any idea or are scared or there is such female illiteracy. If we are able to spread the message and penetrate to that level, I will consider it the biggest blockbuster of my life,” she said.
Urging everyone to work towards raising awareness, she added, “If a friend or a family member comes and tells you their personal experience, you are likely trust them more than you would trust your doctor. So it is important for all of us to spread the word in our groups and communities. We should have the faith and the knowledge that prevention is indeed better than cure. That is the belief that needs to be spread.”