Parents are required to make difficult decisions regarding their children’s health every day. Bearing the weight of the responsibility of making decisions regarding the health of another can be difficult, and vaccines have been a topic of many heated discussions. While the safety and efficacy of vaccines have been called into question, the medical community has remained steadfast in its recommendation for vaccinating babies and children.
To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate
Parents that question the safety of vaccines may cite the research linking autism to thimerosal, a preservative that was once used in vaccines. However, since the initial evidence suggesting a possible link between vaccines and regressive autism, 14 large studies consisting of millions of children have been conducted. No significant difference in the rate of autism in children that were vaccinated versus those that were not was found.
Vaccines remain our strongest weapon against preventable, contagious, and potentially life-threatening diseases. Because they are administered to healthy babies and children, they are among the most rigorously tested medical products available. Years have been spent developing each vaccine, and continuous monitoring assures that each vaccine is given in the safest and most effective dose possible. In addition to the testing by several different agencies, there is a system in place that tracks the reported side effects of vaccines.
While research has shown that vaccines are safe and effective for most children, it is important to note that in rare cases, some children have not reacted well to vaccines. Just as some children fare far worse than others when contracting vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and chicken pox, there have been children that have had sicknesses triggered by vaccines. As with all important medical decisions, it is essential to work with your pediatrician to determine what vaccines and what vaccine schedule is best suited for your child. Discussing any allergies that your child has with your pediatrician may allow your child to avoid vaccines that have ingredients that may potentially cause harm.
As always, it is important to remember that most parents are caring for their child to the best of their abilities. Parents that choose not to vaccinate are not indifferent regarding the possibility of leaving their child vulnerable to dangerous diseases. Parents that choose to vaccinate are not blindly following guidelines that may harm their child. As vaccine research continues, we will become better equipped to ensure health and quality of life for our children.