Is Vaccinating Your Child Safe? Preparing For Pediatrician Immunizations
If your young child is at an age where he or she can be immunized by a pediatrician for illnesses like diphtheria, polio, measles, etc., then you may be contemplating whether these vaccines are safe. Some parents believe that these vaccines are very dangerous and can cause conditions like autism, or even life-threatening illnesses like cancer. This article looks at just one side of the issue: the benefits of vaccination.
What Does the CDC and AAP Say?
Some vaccines contain a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal that some people thought had a causative link with autism. However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that studies have shown that vaccines with thimerosal are quite safe. To assuage people's fears, there are thimerosal-free vaccines available for use.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also supports the CDC's claims and says that vaccines are quite safe and effective at protecting your child from serious diseases. Those who are vaccinatied can also be protected from some types of cancer. The AAP underlines the importance of vaccines not only to keep your child safe, but to protect those who may not be able to get immunized—like babies, elderly individuals, and those with poor immune systems.
Children Without Vaccines May End Up Being Protected by Others
The rise of anti-vaxxers makes sense because modern society has not had to deal with widespread serious illness, like polio. While some parents believe that their children are healthier because they haven't had them vaccinated, the children may be healthy simply because of herd immunity. Herd immunity is a term that describes a population that is mostly vaccinated, meaning that everyone is protected from illness—even those who have not been vaccinated.
Since most people have been vaccinated, those that haven't are actually healthy because the disease is so rare it can't spread it them. However, like the AAP says, while children who aren't immunized may be protected by herd immunity, they themselves can be dangerous to others (e.g., babies) should they get sick.
Clearly, vaccines not only protect your child from serious illnesses, but they can protect others.
Some Parents Are Concerned About the Trauma of Shots
Some parents may be all for vaccinations, but hesitant of putting their child through the trauma of shots. While it can be hard for a parent to see their children cry from pain, vaccinations are very quick and safe. One quick moment of pain is better than having your child become chronically ill.
Your child isn't going to experience long-term trauma from a shot. Be upfront and honest with your child about them feeling a small sting. Distracting your child with singing or talking can help, as well as letting them hold a blanket or favorite toy. Giving your child a treat, like ice cream, and hugging them after they get their vaccinations can help them calm down.
As you can see, vaccines have been deemed safe by the CDC and AAP. They help keep your child safe from illness and prevent them from spreading disease to others. And they do not cause lasting emotional trauma—you can soothe your child during the procedure. However, it's best that you talk with your pediatrician about your concerns. This article only lays out one side of the issue, so you have a right as a parent to explore your options and take the best route for your child.