Child safety extends to many different categories – car safety, safe sleep, household hazards – but one of the best ways to protect your children is through making sure they are up-to-date with all of their vaccinations. Though a hotbed topic, vaccines have statistically been proven to provide the best chance at preventing your child from contracting various diseases, such as measles, mumps, the flu and even cancer. Here are a few reasons why immunizations are an important tool in protecting the health of your child.
1. Safe and Effective
According to PublicHealth.org, numerous studies have found no evidence to support the notion that vaccines cause autism and other chronic illnesses, but a growing number of parents are refusing to vaccinate their children. Many parents distrust vaccines; worried about the potential for risks and long-term side effects. Research, however, shows that most of our biggest fears about vaccinations are unfounded.
Vaccines are analyzed, tested and reviewed thoroughly for harmful elements by scientists, doctors and healthcare specialists. Outside of the initial pain that can come from the injection, vaccines don’t activate disease. They can cause an allergic reaction, but that is very rare.
Kim Warden, LPN, of Hamilton Community Health Network, offered up this perspective: “Parents take their children to the pediatrician and trust their judgment surrounding development and all sorts of common diseases. Why mistrust about vaccine recommendations, especially when all sorts of testing is behind these vaccines?”
2. New Advancements in Preventing Harmful Disease
Due to medical advancements over the years, where some diseases were killing or injuring children at alarming rates, vaccines have now eliminated completely or brought those same illnesses close to extinction. One example of this is the polio epidemic the United States experienced in the 1940s and 1950s. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, polio was once America’s most feared disease, causing death and paralysis all across the country. Today, due to vaccinations, there are no reports of polio in the United States.
Though a hotbed topic, vaccines have statistically been proven to provide the best chance at preventing your child from contracting various diseases, such as measles, mumps, the flu and even cancer.
3. Time-Sparing and Money-Saving
A child who is carrying a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied admittance to schools and child care facilities. Some diseases that have a preventative vaccine have also been proven to take a toll on families in the long term, whether it be through long-term disabilities, financial strain from medical bills or impacting family income through absences at work. The negative effects of not vaccinating your child can have great repercussions, not just on the health of your child but the wellbeing of your family, as well.
4. Protecting Generations
Children have been successfully vaccinated for decades. In fact, there has never been a single credible study linking vaccines to long-term health conditions. In fact, vaccines have completely eliminated a number of diseases that killed or disabled people in times past and because of these vaccines, our children today don’t have to face illnesses that ran rampant in previous generations. For example, because of the smallpox vaccine, the disease no longer exists worldwide. Then, through the vaccinating for rubella, there has been a significant statistical decrease in the chances of that virus being passed on to a fetus or newborn. Vaccinations give parents hope that some diseases today will be extinct and unable to harm their children in the future.
There will always be people – infants, pregnant women, elderly and those with weakened immune systems – who can’t receive vaccines. But the more people who don’t vaccinate, the greater the chances of increasing opportunities for viruses and bacteria to establish themselves and spread. Consider international travel where many countries have diseases that aren’t rampant here. Those germs come back to your community after a traveler is infected and infect those who are not vaccinated.
Vaccines are one of the greatest discoveries in modern medicine. Because of vaccines, children nowadays aren’t at risk of dying from measles, smallpox, whooping cough, or rubella, to name just a few. Today, these ailments can be completely prevented with a simple injection.
So, when deciding whether or not to vaccinate your child, remember the science behind vaccines, not your neighbors or your favorite celeb’s opinion of them. The CDC oversees the nationwide vaccine program and offers the Vaccines for Children program, which is federally funded to provide free vaccines to children from low-income families. You can access vaccines through the local health department or your doctor.
For more information, visit cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/.
Provided by Hamilton Community Health Network