Vaccination is one of the most important health interventions to have ever been developed. Vaccines not only prevent diseases but also protect children against many other infections that can cause severe illness or disabilities. Yet despite this success story, some parents choose not to vaccinate their children because they believe vaccines are unsafe and/or unnecessary. This article will address these common concerns about vaccination to reassure readers that it’s safe for both adults and infants to be vaccinated.
Why vaccinate children?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed a recommended immunization schedule to protect infants from 14 diseases that can potentially cause severe complications. These include measles, influenza, pneumococcus, hepatitis A and B, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), rotavirus, whooping cough (pertussis), meningococcus, polio, and chickenpox. By implementing this form of “herd immunity,” the spread of infectious disease is kept under control, ultimately protecting those who cannot receive vaccines because they are too young or unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons.
Additionally, by vaccinating children on schedule (rather than waiting until they contract an infectious disease), parents can avoid substantial one-time costs of treating acute conditions and long-term health problems that can develop due to infection with certain vaccine-preventable diseases. While some parents may believe that serious side effects of vaccinations occur only very rarely (if at all), it’s important to note that even relatively common conditions/ailments – such as ear infections, diarrhea, and vomiting – can develop after a child has been vaccinated.
What are the common misconceptions about vaccination?
One of the most concerning yet common misperceptions about vaccination is that these preventive measures cause autism in infants. A now-retracted study published by The Lancet in 1998 claimed to show that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was linked to a higher risk of developing autism spectrum disorders, but multiple large-scale follow-up studies have found no correlation between vaccines and autism. Nonetheless, this initial “research” led some parents to avoid vaccinating their children with MMR or any other vaccines containing components related to those discussed in the Lancet article.
Although the risk of autism is not a common side effect of vaccination, there are some less severe yet somewhat alarming risks associated with receiving certain vaccines. For example, infants who receive live attenuated influenza vaccine may experience short-lived breathing problems and wheeze after being vaccinated. Some parents also express concern about administering any vaccine that contains thimerosal (a mercury derivative), which is used to inactivate bacterial products in some vaccines. However, multiple nationwide studies have found no evidence that thimerosal causes brain or immune system disorders.
Finally, parents need to understand that children typically experience a mild fever and skin irritation at the site where they receive their injection; this discomfort should subside within several days without requiring additional care.
What should parents do if they are concerned about vaccinating their children?
Parents who have specific questions or concerns about the safety of vaccines for their infants should speak with their pediatrician as soon as possible.
As part of a child’s regular check-up schedule, physicians will review the recommended vaccination schedule with parents and help them understand how various shots can protect infants from potentially serious diseases. When doctors discuss vaccination schedules with parents and answer any remaining questions or concerns, deciding whether or not to vaccinate a child is typically an informed one (rather than based on false or mistaken beliefs about vaccines).
What are the benefits of vaccinating children on schedule?
Several studies have shown that infants who receive their vaccinations on schedule can develop immunity to potentially harmful diseases much more quickly than those whose shots are delayed. While parents often believe that delaying vaccination until a child is older can protect them from dangerous side effects. However, this belief may put the infant at risk of developing certain dangerous illnesses. Vaccinating children on schedule protects them against disease by triggering an immune response in young bodies while avoiding serious adverse reactions. You can schedule and keep a track and maintain a digital vaccination records using ImmunifyMe.
Another benefit of vaccinating children on schedule is that it allows families to avoid substantial one-time costs associated with treating acute conditions and long-term medical problems, resulting in a child falling sick with a dangerous illness.
Vaccines are one of the most important tools in a pediatrician’s arsenal. They protect infants from potentially severe diseases while avoiding side effects ranging from mild fever and skin irritation to neurological disorders or death. If you have any apprehensions regarding vaccinating your child, schedule an appointment with their pediatrician as soon as possible. Your doctor will review the recommended vaccination schedule with you and answer any remaining questions or concerns you might have before giving your consent for shots on time to be given. Informed decisions make it easier for children to develop immunity against dangerous diseases while reducing costs associated with treating acute conditions and long-term medical problems resulting when they fall sick with a disease because parents delayed vaccinations until later in life.