Parents go beyond the call of duty to safeguard their children from harm—think of car seats, baby gates, and other safety measures, noted Vaccines.gov, a provider of information about vaccines. However, vaccinating your child is also one of the most important measures to protect them against diseases.
Vaccines work by training your immune system to recognize and combat pathogens, be it viruses and bacteria, explained PublicHealth, a provider of resources for students who are pursuing a career in the healthcare sector. Certain molecules called antigens (which are present in all viruses and bacteria) from the pathogens must be introduced to trigger your body’s immune response.
Once the antigens are injected, your immune system safely learns to recognize them as hostile invaders, create antibodies, and remember them in the future. If the virus or bacteria invades your body, your immune system will recognize antigens, attacking the invaders before the pathogens spread and cause sickness.
Survey Tackles Vaccine Knowledge and Behaviors of Turkish Families (2018)
Soner Sertan Kara and colleagues of journal portal Research Gate conducted a cross-sectional survey of a non-randomized sample of 903 parents, representing, 57% of 1,560 eligible parents at pediatric outpatient clinics in Gazi University Hospital between January 1 and December 21, 2014.
95.1% of parents said they believe in the protective effects of vaccination. But 2.7% of parents in the study population deemed one or more vaccines in the childhood national immunization program unacceptable. Levels of rejection among different vaccines, namely hepatitis B (52%), Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine (40%), and hepatitis A (40%) were similar. Likewise, levels of rejection of diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, inactivated polio, Haemophilus influenza type B vaccine (40%), MMR (36%), varicella (32%), and oral polio vaccine (28%) were similar.
66% of parents knew about optional vaccines and of these, 33.4% had their kids inoculated with optional vaccines. The most popular and implemented vaccines were influenza (32.1%) and rotavirus (31.1%). 33.3% of parents were completely uninformed about optional vaccines. 9.8% reported adverse events caused by any vaccine. The most common adverse events were fever (74.1%), local reactions (50.4%), and irritability (28.4%).
The places where caregivers sought information about vaccinations and adverse reactions when these occurred during the vaccination were the pediatrician (50.4%), family physician (32.7%), the nurse who gave the vaccine (12.4%), the internet (2.3%), and the parents of other children who may have experienced similar side effects (0.3%).
American Adults Doubt the Safety of Vaccines (2019)
The American Osteopathic Association, a representative member organization for the over 145,000 osteopathic medical doctors and osteopathic medical students in the US, found that 55% of Americans don’t doubt the safety of vaccines. 45% stated at least one source that caused doubts about the safety of vaccination.
The top doubt-causing sources were online articles (16%), past secrets/wrongdoing by the pharmaceutical industry (16%), and information from medical experts (12%), past secrets/wrongdoing by the government (11%), interactions and/or content on social media (10%) or information from friends (10%), and personal experience of negative effects of vaccine (9%).
When asked which statements best represent their views on vaccine safety and efficacy, 51% chose “I think vaccines are safe and effective" and 31% answered “I think the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks of vaccine side effects.” 9% were unsure of whether vaccines are safe and effective, 6% thought that the risks of vaccine side effects outweigh its potential benefits, and 2% said vaccines are unsafe and ineffective.
Why Should I Vaccinate My Child?
Delaying or rejecting vaccines jeopardizes your child’s health and life, as well as the lives of other people, warned CaringforKids, an online health information for parents from Canada’s pediatricians. Communities depend on high immunization rates to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases from spreading.
The more parents choose not to vaccinate their kids, the greater the risk that the disease will spread in the community. If you consider advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than before. Vaccines are safe as they are reviewed carefully by scientists, doctors, and health professionals. It is uncomfortable and may involve pain, tenderness, and redness at the site of injection. Side effects such as allergic reactions are very rare.
If your child has a vaccine-preventable disease, they can be prevented from going to school or child care facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can cause prolonged disabilities and financial stress due to lost time at work, long-term disability care, and medical bills. However, getting your child immunized is a great investment to ensure their health and safety.
Do you still need to vaccinate your healthy child? Of course. Vaccines are there to keep healthy children healthy, said Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD of Kids Health, an online physician-reviewed source on children’s health and parenting issues. Vaccines work by protecting your child’s body before infection. Don’t wait until they get sick or it will be too late. Therefore, the best time to vaccinate your child is when they are healthy.
Can Having too Many Vaccines Harm My Baby?
Babies have stronger immune systems as they can handle more germs than what they receive from vaccines. Do note that the amount of germs in vaccines is only a small fraction of the germs your baby’s immune system deals with each day. Kids can have a mild fever or a rash after vaccination. The risk of side effects is small compared with the risks associated with vaccine-preventable diseases. Such reactions do not occur just because your baby got a number of vaccines in one go.
Do Vaccines Cause Autism?
No, they don’t. There have been studies that tackled the non-existent link between autism and vaccines. The MMR vaccine was criticized even though it was not linked to autism. The study that suggested a possible association between autism and the MMR vaccine was withdrawn in 2004. The doctor who published the research got his medical license revoked. Before it was declared fraudulent, the study was even rejected by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and more.
The increased rates of autism in recent years may be due to a broader definition of this developmental disorder that can be applied to more children who exhibit varying degrees of symptoms. It could also be attributed to the greater awareness of autism among health professionals, leading to more diagnoses.
Vaccines are helpful in protecting your child from deadly diseases. Vaccines are an investment and should never be overlooked by parents. If parents choose not to vaccinate their child, they should be aware of the risks they are putting their little one in.