Many parents wonder about vaccine safety and efficacy. After all, generations of people survived without vaccines. To help you decide what's right for your child, consider these vaccination facts:
Vaccines are among the least expensive medications. There's no conspiracy by "Big Pharma" to gouge nervous parents. Most insurance companies fully cover vaccines and numerous clinics give them away.
Seldom do children experience adverse reactions, such as irritation at the injection site and low-grade fever. The severity of the side effect is much, much lower than the ravages of the childhood diseases vaccines prevent. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that vaccines spared 732,000 American children from death and prevented 322 million cases of childhood illnesses between 1994 and 2014.
Childhood vaccines have nearly eliminated numerous childhood-associated diseases such as polio, measles, mumps and rubella; however, they still can spread among unvaccinated people who have traveled where vaccination isn't routine.
Vaccinating children helps protect other people with compromised immune systems such as babies who have not yet completed vaccination, people with incomplete or outdated vaccination, or those receiving certain drugs to treat cancer or autoimmune diseases, and patients with AIDS.
Vaccines do not cause autism. The vaccines scheduled at 12 to 18 months just happen to coincide with the age that the traits of autism first become most evident -- though a professional could have likely recognized the traits earlier. Decades ago, vaccines used a preservative called thimerosal, a derivative of mercury. One poorly executed study linked thimerosal with autism. Despite numerous well-executed studies that exonerate thimerosal (see www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/pdf/cdcstudiesonvaccinesandautism.pdf), the preservative was discontinued in 2001. Rates of autism continue to rise since then, despite thimerosal's absence.
Vaccines contain only tiny traces of harmful chemicals. While overexposure to formaldehyde and aluminum can cause health issues, the minuscule amount used in some vaccines is not comparable to the widespread exposure children experience in everyday substances such as breast milk, formula, food containers, upholstery and carpeting.
Most vaccines use dead or weakened strains of the diseases they're helping to suppress. Delaying doesn't benefit a baby, since it widens the window in which he remains unprotected. A baby is well able to cope with several vaccines at once considering his hundreds of daily exposures to viruses, fungi and bacteria. Vaccines strengthen a child's immune system to defeat the life-altering or life-ending illnesses that devastated families before these vaccines were available.
The Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, and numerous other prestigious, widely supported, science-based groups support childhood vaccination. The CDC recommends vaccinations before age two to protect children against measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza type B, polio, influenza, rotavirus, and pneumococcal disease.
The choice to vaccinate relies upon risk and looking at large-scale studies rather than random anecdotes. Vaccination, delayed vaccination or no vaccination: choose which option carries the least risk to your child's health.