For previous generations, vaccinations came as a welcome gift; there was little debate as to whether or not to protect children against the devastating effects of polio, measles, or whooping cough. Today, however, the dialogue has shifted – centering not so much on whether illness or disease is bad (parents know it is), but rather on the safety of the vaccines themselves.
With celebrities, lawmakers, and even medical experts weighing in and taking sides on this issue, many parents are confused as to whether or not they should immunize their children. With respect to both sides of the discussion, here’s why you may want to consider immunizing your child.
How Do Vaccines Work?
When germs or viruses invade a healthy body, proteins called antibodies serve as a first line of defense by destroying the invaders and helping you stay healthy. As your body continues to build up immunity against those viruses, you become less at risk of developing that disease.
That is where vaccines come in. Vaccines contain weakened or dead viruses that cause the body to develop an immunity from those viruses – creating a long-lasting, protective barrier that helps to reinforce the immune system. Should you ever become exposed to the actual virus or disease, it is through immunizations that your body will have been prepared to protect you.
Why Are Vaccines Controversial?
It makes sense that parents seek to vaccinate their children to protect them from dangerous diseases, just like their own parents had done for them when they were young. The problem is that many parents today are concerned about the side effects and long-term implications of receiving a vaccine, and they wonder whether it is better to risk exposure to disease vs. the possible risk of the vaccine.
For other parents, religious or moral objections weigh heavily into their decision as to whether or not they should vaccinate their child – some religions and belief systems do not believe in medicine. And then there’s the law: Is it legal to mandate vaccinations if they go against a family’s deeply held beliefs? These concerns have fomented a very vocal and emotional public debate – with the health and welfare of our children weighing in the balance.
Immunizations Are Highly Regulated
When considering whether or not to vaccinate, know that vaccines are monitored and thoroughly regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). They are credited for eradicating many once-common and deadly illnesses, such as polio and smallpox.
In fact, the guidelines that regulate vaccines come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics. These boards keep a continuous eye on the standards and practices of children’s medicine.
Misinformation About Autism and Vaccines
Every parent has the right to be concerned about what is being injected into their children. Just as some children are allergic to certain foods, there have been a few rare cases where a child has responded negatively to a vaccine. However, there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism as has been widely speculated.
Unfortunately, findings suggesting otherwise were distributed in the mid-1990s in a report published in the respected British medical journal, Lancet. This report claimed a link between autism and the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Although the information used in this report was unanimously debunked as faulty, the theory had already spread around the world.
Questions Answered About Immunizations
Parents who have concerns about vaccines can rest assured that:
· Vaccines do not cause the disease they are trying to prevent; the virus that is injected is not viable enough – or is dead – and cannot cause harm. It only causes your body to create antibodies against it.
· Not all vaccines are egg-based. If your child has egg allergies, tell your pediatrician. The doctor will ensure your vaccine is egg-free.
· Diseases like smallpox and polio are rare if not eradicated. However, as fewer and fewer people are vaccinated, exposure to these diseases should remain a very real concern. For the public heath – and your own – it is best to vaccinate, even against seemingly rare diseases.
Trust Your Pediatrician
What parent doesn’t want the best for their child? If you are on the fence about vaccinations, it’s best to have a heart-to-heart discussion with a pediatrician you can trust.
If you are in or around Bucks County, PA, you can trust your child’s health to Urgent Care Now Urgent Care. Our caring medical team provides immunizations, flu shots, and booster shots, in addition to the everyday care you need for bumps, bruises, sniffles, and coughs.
We are open every day of the year, including holidays, because we know that health issues don’t take a vacation. Contact us today by calling (267) 202-6433, or walk right in without an appointment. We look forward to seeing you today.