Vaccinations – Immunizing is still a priority for children
Vaccinations – Why Immunizing is Still a Priority for Children
It’s one of those controversial parenting topics that create heated discussions at play groups. Are immunizations necessary these days? Why do tiny babies get so many booster shots? Are they even safe? The good news is that vaccinations are very heavily researched by several organizations, so there is no end to information about what is safe and what is not. The diseases themselves can be life-threatening, such as diphtheria, polio, or hepatitis. Choosing to decline immunizing your child could lead to gaps in her body’s line of defense.
Why are immunizations so important?
Organizations such as the AAP, CDC, and medical professionals agree that immunizing children is the greatest protection they can receive against contagious diseases. It may seem like some diseases have been eradicated through modern medicine, but in truth there are still outbreaks that can spread quickly. If a body has been immunized against a disease, it knows how to fight it if ever exposed. If you have a preemie baby, it is still recommended she follow the same immunization schedule as full-term babies.
How do vaccines work?
Receiving a regiment of a vaccine allows your body to build immunity to a disease for a very long time. The virus or bacteria is introduced through the vaccine and your child’s immune system will create antibodies to fight it off. It is common to combine vaccines into a combination vaccine to reduce the amount of shots your child must receive. For some vaccines to be effective, they must be given in multiple doses that are spaced to yield optimal results. It might seem like too many shots, but in reality, your child is exposed to much more bacteria on a daily basis than what the vaccines contain.
There are 4 types of vaccines:
- Attenuated – Live viruses that are weakened in the vaccine
- Killed – The virus or bacteria is inactivated
- Toxoid – Some bacteria produce toxins that make us sick. A toxoid vaccine contains a toxin that has been inactivated.
- Conjugate – Rather than remaining whole, a part of the bacterium is combined with a protein.
Common concerns parents have with vaccinations
More and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children. Some of the most common concerns for immunizing include:
- Adverse reactions to a vaccine – Vaccines are studied and evaluated every year so that the ingredients and viral/bacterial strains used are always as effective and safe for children as possible. It’s true that some children have reactions to a vaccine – usually a mild fever or rash – but this is incredibly moderate in comparison to contracting one of the diseases instead.
- Contracting a disease from receiving the vaccine – It is not possible to get sick from a killed virus, but attenuated viruses pose a very small risk. For example, in the case of a chicken pox vaccine, your baby might get a few red bumps following immunization, but it would be mild and disappear after a few days.
- Dangerous vaccine ingredients – Because the viruses or bacteria contained in vaccines must be rendered inactive or weakened, ingredients such as formaldehyde, aluminum, antibiotics, and others are used. Trace amounts can be found in vaccines, meaning the ingredient was added to the vaccine for production, then removed. While this may seem alarming, many of these ingredients are found in larger quantities in products we surround ourselves with each day – such as paper towels, carpet, baby formula, cough drops, and food.
- Autism – There was a study circulated in 1998 stating that the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine may have a relationship to autism in children. Since then, many studies have been conducted and have found no correlation between any vaccination and autism – in fact, many of the physicians who backed the original study have retracted their support.
- The immunization schedule – Many parents are overwhelmed by the number and frequency of vaccines given to babies at such an early age and question whether this is necessary. There are more vaccinations available to fight disease than there were 20 and 30 years ago. The longer you wait to vaccinate a baby, the greater the risk of her being exposed to and developing a serious illness that could have easily been prevented. When outbreaks occur, young children are among the highest at risk; this is one reason why so many shots are scheduled when baby is young.
While everyone certainly has the right to make this choice, it’s important to fully research each vaccine and any detrimental affects you may have heard about. Make sure you seek credible sources and speak with professionals who know firsthand what risks are involved. Ask your child’s doctor or pediatrician plenty of questions. If you choose not to immunize, your child may not contract any disease. On the other hand, it’s possible she could, and realizing something lasting and serious could have been prevented so easily is the only option you and your child will have at that point.
What are some of your concerns with immunizing you child? Share with us in the comments below!