Vaccines are a confusing medical issue in today’s media. Many parents are uncertain of whether or not they should vaccinate their children against common diseases, because some people believe that immunizations can cause mental or physical illnesses.
While it’s understandable that parents should be concerned about the types of pediatric care their children are receiving, vaccines are an extremely important part of your child’s overall health. To alleviate your fears, we have composed a list of 10 essential things you need to know about vaccines:
- Young children can be vaccinated against 16 diseases. This includes chicken pox, diphtheria, H1N1 (swine) flu, hepatitis A and B, the human papillomavirus (HPV), measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus, and the flu.
- Vaccines do not cause autism. The paper that first raised this possibility, a scientific study conducted by Andrew Wakefield in 1998, has since been declared fraudulent. Consequent studies have all shown that there is no connection between vaccines and the development of autism.
- More and more diseases are becoming rare. In the United States, childhood vaccinations are helping to reduce the spread of diseases, effectively eradicating their existence. Honestly, when is the last time that you’ve heard of a child contracting smallpox or diphtheria?
- Vaccinations protect future generations. In the global span of things, vaccines don’t just help guard your children against infection; they also protect your grandchildren and great grandchildren. Vaccinations are the best way to end the spread of diseases.
- If vaccinations were stopped, crippling or fatal diseases would reappear. Before vaccinations were developed, diseases such as polio, measles, and meningitis ran rampant across the country. They would infect, cripple, and sometimes kill infants and young children. Today, they are almost entirely under control.
- Like medication, vaccinations can have side effects. Although minor, side effects have been known to occur from vaccinations, including fevers, rashes, or tenderness on the spots where your children have been injected. If your children are feeling any discomfort, do not hesitate to make an appointment with your primary care physician.
- Some vaccinations last a lifetime. Certain vaccinations, for diseases such as rubella, polio, and mumps, last for your children’s entire lives. Others, such as the ones for the flu or meningitis, require booster shots when your children are teenagers or adults.
- Don’t wait to vaccinate your children. Young children under the age of five are more susceptible to diseases than older children because their immune systems are not as developed. Make sure that you immunize your children before the age of two, so they are protected before they enter school or daycare.
- There is no such thing as “vaccine overload.” It has never been scientifically proven that an influx of immunizations in a small amount of time can harm your children’s immune systems.
- Just because other children vaccinate does not mean that you shouldn’t. Often, many parents feel that – because other children in school or daycare are being vaccinated – their children will also be protected from these diseases. This is known as herd immunity. However, for herd immunity to work effectively, a very large amount of children would need to be vaccinated and the population of your children’s school or daycare is not enough.