As Bênçãos Vitalícias da Vacinação

CIDADE DO CABO – Um mundo em que os nossos filhos e os seus filhos cresçam livres da ameaça da pólio e de outras doenças preveníveis é um sonho que todos partilham. Mas, ao contrário da maioria dos sonhos, este é alcançável. Ao longo da minha vida, tive a sorte de testemunhar o extraordinário impacto das vacinas na protecção infantil da doença e da morte – especialmente no mundo em desenvolvimento.

As vacinas tiveram sempre um significado especial para mim. Enquanto jovem criança na África do Sul, quase morri de pólio. Na altura – no início da década de 1930 – não existia vacina para esta doença altamente infecciosa. Com boas razões, pais de toda a parte viviam aterrorizados que o poliovírus pudesse chegar-lhes a casa – como uma praga – atingindo uma criança e causando paralisia irreversível numa questão de horas, ou, pior, morte numa questão de dias.

Os médicos disseram aos meus pais que pouco poderia ser feito por mim, e por isso o meu pai preparou-se para o meu funeral. Felizmente, recuperei, excepto na mobilidade da minha mão direita. Daí em diante vivi uma vida maravilhosa, mas a paralisia na minha mão é uma lembrança diária da razão de devermos urgentemente prosseguir com a erradicação da pólio e assegurar que todas as crianças tenham acesso às vacinas de que necessitem.

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