The Importance of Immunizations
Protecting your children is a top priority as a parent. You want what’s best for them and to create an environment where they can grow and thrive. Immunizations may create some risks for children, but in most cases the benefits far outweigh the risks. Here’s some information about vaccines that can help as you seek to do what’s best for your child.
Immunizations are Safer than the Diseases They Protect Against
Some people worry that immunizations aren’t safe or can cause disease. Although there is a risk of reaction with some immunizations, the most common side effect is mild pain and inflammation at the injection site. Some vaccines, including the diphtheria vaccine, can cause a low-grade fever for a few days. Serious side effects are rare. Vaccines are rigorously tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before being approved for use. They are also carefully monitored for safety. Most immunizations cause no reaction at all.
On the other hand, the diseases these immunizations protect against can be life-threatening. Outbreaks of influenza, chickenpox, measles and whooping cough continue to result in the hospitalization, and sometimes death, of otherwise healthy children. Worldwide, vaccinations prevent between 2 and 3 million deaths each year. Many of the diseases we have vaccinations for have decreased by more than 95 percent.
Vaccine-Preventable Diseases are Still Present
With the dramatic reduction in vaccine-preventable diseases, it’s tempting to think that immunizing against those diseases is no longer necessary. Unfortunately, those diseases are still present, particularly in countries with less access to vaccines. Without immunizations, diseases can return. This is especially true in the global world we live in. As people travel from one country to another, they may pick up diseases and spread them around. One person traveling to a country where a disease isn’t eliminated can get infected and spark an outbreak when they return home.
The MMR Vaccine and Autism
Many people have heard that there might be a link between the MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella) vaccine and autism. This is not true; vaccines don’t cause autism. This debate was started by a study that was published that linked autism and the MMR vaccine. An independent panel reviewed the study and found that it was flawed. The panel went so far as to say the study was conducted in a way that was “dishonest, irresponsible and misleading.” The study has since been retracted. Unfortunately, the rumor it started continues to circulate.