The Importance of Vaccinations
Childhood vaccinations can seem very overwhelming when you are a new parent. Recommended vaccine schedules are determined by credible agencies and organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, such as polio, tetanus, and diphtheria, but they also keep other children safe by eliminating, or greatly decreasing, dangerous diseases that were once easily spread through child to child contact.
A vaccine is a weakened version of, or part of, the “actual” germ and it cannot cause the disease being protected against. When children are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, their immune system can build up antibodies that protect them from contracting the disease if and when they are exposed to the actual disease.
In recent years, vaccines have generated controversy over fears of lack of safety, but no convincing evidence of harm has been proven. Although children can have a reaction to any vaccine, the important thing to know is that the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the possible side effects.
2019 Recommended Immunizations from the CDC for Birth to 18 Years of Age
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Fact or Fiction?
Trying to tease out myths surrounding vaccinations from the truth can seem overwhelming and never ending due to way misinformation can be disseminated so easily in this day and age. There is constant battling between the PRO (people for vaccination) and CON (people against vaccination) groups everywhere we look. Books, websites, and media videos are all vying for your attention, especially on the Internet where content providers are trying to get “clicks” to generate revenue. Studies have shown a negative influence on vaccination uptake through television and newspapers, as well as with new technology and social media having their share of misinformation. How do we, as consumers of information, know which sources are legitimate? Doctors and scientists use controlled experiments to generate data which can then be used to determine safety and efficacy. However, once vaccines are available to the public, it does not guarantee accurate information regarding their safety and efficacy reach the public. This can lead to various negative outcomes like reduced vaccinations. As evidence, according to a recent survey (2018), approximately 1 in 8 children under the age of 2 are under-vaccinated. The acceptance of vaccines is declining in the United States, and doctors need to play a more pivotal role than ever to help disseminate knowledge and positive attitudes toward vaccinations. With proper education, we can improve our decision-making process to one which is enlightened and our own.
The Science of Anti-Vaccination
For many the question of whether or not to vaccinate is daunting. Before anyone makes the decision to vaccinate or not, they should review information from creditable sources to guide their final decision.
Facciolà, A., Visalli, G., Orlando, A., Bertuccio, M. P., Spataro, P., Squeri, R., & Di Pietro, A. (2019). Vaccine hesitancy: An overview on parents’ opinions about vaccination and possible reasons of vaccine refusal. Journal of public health research, 8(1).
Orenstein, W. A., & Ahmed, R. (2017). Simply put: Vaccination saves lives.
Sarvesh Kumar, J., & Brundha, M. P. (2018). Awareness about childhood vaccination among parents with children below 15 years of age. Drug Invention Today, 10(12), 2481-2484.
Vaccines for Your Children. (2019, March 18). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html.