In what seems like a celebrity-driven mission to discourage you from having your child vaccinated, myths and rumors start flying. It’s easy for the truth to get mixed in with fiction and for parents to truly be uncertain as to whether or not shots are dangerous for their children.
The most common misconception about childhood vaccinations is that they cause autism. This is due to Andrew Wakefield, a former physician who published a study stating that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused autism in children. This has been widely proven false.
Since Wakefield’s studies were published in 1998, other researchers in the medical field have been unable to present the same findings that Wakefield did. Since then, Wakefield had his medical license revoked. As a result, a constant struggle for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prove that vaccinations pose no threat to children has ensued.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there were major flaws in Wakefield’s studies. Some of these critical mishaps included the following:
- When the paper was written, approximately 90 percent of children in England were given the MMR vaccine. Oftentimes, what many people don’t know is that this shot is administered around the same time that symptoms of autism begin to appear in children. As a result, it’s common that children who are diagnosed with the condition have recently been vaccinated for MMR. In his study, Wakefield failed to determine if the occurrences of autism were prevalent in both vaccinated and unvaccinated children.
- Wakefield also claimed that autism is related to gastrointestinal inflammation. This is not true because gastrointestinal symptoms are seen after symptoms of autism appear.
- Wakefield failed to determine whether or not the virus genome was a natural or vaccine virus. This conclusion was crucial because the natural measles virus is still circulating throughout Europe.
- The testing that Wakefield used in his second 2002 study is well known for providing false positive results. However, Wakefield did not mention in his paper how the problem of false positives was avoided.
Since Wakefield’s first study caused a public uproar, there have been several published papers proving no connection between vaccines and autism. These include two papers written by Dr. Brent Taylor, a 2001 study by Dr. Nathalie Smith published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and a study published in the British Medical Journal.
5 reasons to vaccinate your baby
You want to ensure you’re doing what’s best for your child and not putting them in harm’s way, just like every parent out there. Here are five reasons why you should vaccinate your child, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
Vaccinations are safe and effective: Perhaps the foremost concern the general population has about vaccinations is that they are unsafe. Before vaccinations can be certified as safe, scientists and professionals in the health care industry, including pediatricians, review them. Of course, your child will likely cry and experience some discomfort at the injection site as well as possible redness and tenderness. What you should keep in mind, however, is that the diseases your child can develop from not getting the immunizations are much more painful.
Immunizations can save your child’s life: These related diseases that once claimed the lives of Americans have almost all been eradicated due to vaccinations. Diseases that used to be feared, such as polio, are no longer reported because children are protected against them due to immunizations.
Immunizations protect future generations: When a disease can be eliminated today, it will protect future generations as well. This may often be something that people don’t consider as they see a small baby and don’t really think about him or her becoming an adult and having a family of their own. For example, small pox isn’t a disease that children need to be protected against anymore because vaccinations helped eradicate the illness decades ago.
Vaccinations protect those around you: There has been an increase in the number of cases of whooping cough and measles in recent years. It’s most likely to be fatal in children younger than 6 months because they cannot be completely vaccinated. People who have severe allergies and weakened immune systems also can’t receive vaccinations. In this instance, it’s important for children to have their vaccinations because they won’t infect those who can’t have immunizations with diseases.
Vaccinations save time and money: When your child is protected against diseases it lessens the chances of getting sick, ending up in the hospital or needing medical treatment. As a result, this will save you not only significant time and money, but stress as well. Diseases can cause lasting damage and harm to your children, and when you choose to have them vaccinated they will be saved from the lasting (and costly) side effects that can result from some of these illnesses.
Do you plan on vaccinating your baby? Join in the discussion below!