To be completely honest with you all, writing about this particular subject was hard for me. I try to stay as far away as possible from vaccination conversations. I have seen women get ripped to shreds in some of my mommy groups discussing this topic. However, after a recent Facebook post a couple months ago, I couldn’t help but share my two-cents.
Vaccinations; you’re either REALLY for them, or REALLY against them. There is no happy-medium.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says almost one in 10 babies worldwide received no vaccines in 2016. That’s 13 million babies without immunizations against life threatening diseases.
I understand the hesitation that some parents have regarding this topic. Are they safe? Are we giving too many too fast? Are they even necessary? It’s our children for goodness sake, it’s totally understandable to have questions. But over the past few decades, pediatricians have seen a rising number of parents forgoing vaccinations and from a mother to another mother, that terrifies me.
Vaccinations are Generally Safe
First, let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. Are vaccines safe? Yes, in my opinion (and after endless amounts of research from factual, unbiased sources) I truly believe that vaccines are generally safe. The protection provided by these immunizations far outweighs the very small risk of serious problems. One in a million, to be exact.
Vaccinations do not Cause Autism
Unfortunately, despite their safety, many rumors still persist. One of the most common is that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism. This idea, which was first proposed in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield, was disproved almost immediately. In fact, he was labeled a fraud and lost his license over his false claims. Look it up.
It’s been almost 20 years since Wakefield’s claim came to light and the medical community has invested tremendous resources to evaluate his theory. The results have been unanimous — there is absolutely no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
Vaccinations have Saved Millions of Lives
According to the World Health Organization, two to three million lives have been saved every year, because of vaccines. Diseases that once ran rampant in our communities are now so uncommon in the United States that most physicians have never seen actual cases.
Vaccinations are Still Totally Necessary
Another vaccine myth, circulating between parents is that since these diseases have become so rare, why are vaccines still necessary? Well, despite the fact that they may be rare in the United States, does not mean they are rare everywhere else around the world. These diseases are common in other countries and will return if enough people remain unvaccinated. Measels, for example, were successfully eliminated from the US in 2000. However, low vaccination rates have caused outbreaks in recent years.
Though you may think that vaccines are unnecessary, there are more reasons than ever to vaccinate. Take for example, those who are unable to vaccinate due to medical reasons. Their safety relies heavily on those that CAN get vaccinated. Known as herd immunity; when enough of the population is vaccinated, the disease can no longer spread, protecting those at greatest risk. For this to work, however, everyone must be vaccinated — at least 95% of the population.
Alaska vaccination program wipes out Hepatitis A
In the news this week: A comprehensive hepatitis A vaccination program established in Alaska in the 1990s, which became a requirement for school entry in 2001, has virtually wiped out the virus in the native peoples of Alaska, where it had been endemic. You can read all about it here.
Vaccinate your Children
As the new school year begins, I encourage parents to make sure their child is fully vaccinated. For those wishing to learn more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent has reliable information available online.
I’d love to hear from my readers. Do you vaccinate? Why or why not?
If you liked this story, you may like reading more articles Just For Moms.
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