ARe Vaccines Good For KIDS?
Vaccines. It’s a hot topic on social media, in the news – basically anywhere you find a group of parents who are trying to do what is best for their children. My husband and I are both physicians. We actually decided to vaccinate our baby extra and early. Because of the ongoing measles epidemic in our area, in discussion with our pediatrician, we opted to give an extra dose of the measles vaccine (MMR) at six months, rather than waiting for the standard first dose at twelve months. So, when we say we are pro-vaccine, we mean it!
We aren’t here to tell you what to do for your family. That is for you to decide. We just wanted to explain our own personal thoughts on vaccines, which can be summed up as follows:
Vaccines save lives
Vaccines protect us from a number of diseases that used to be dangerous, even fatal for children. Polio, diphtheria, tetanus and many more – fortunately now that we have vaccines for these diseases you rarely hear about them. Even when these diseases were not fatal, they had lifelong crippling consequences for children. Polio could leave a child unable to walk – measles encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) could leave a child deaf or mentally disabled. We are lucky that with appropriate vaccine use, we don’t have to live with the threat of these diseases hanging over us and our families.
When parents decide not to vaccinate their children, dangerous diseases come back and threaten our families
In our part of the country, there is an outbreak of measles. Why did this disease “come back” after being gone for years? Some parents chose not to vaccinate their children. Measles is very infectious – it just takes a few cases for it to spread like wildfire. People who have been vaccinated against measles are usually safe, but anyone who has not been vaccinated is at risk of getting measles. Small babies or those with weak immune systems are especially at risk for serious consequences.
There is no good scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism, the flu, Martian attacks etc.
There are millions of articles and papers floating around on the internet. You can probably find one blaming vaccines for just about every bad thing that can happen. You can also find articles claiming that the earth is flat and that we are being secretly controlled by reptile aliens and all sorts of other wacky things. If you have concerns, try not to dive into the confusing, unsorted, unregulated mass of information on the internet – talk to someone with appropriate expertise that you trust – like your child’s pediatrician!
Do shots hurt for a second? Yes. Will your child cry? Maybe. I told my daughter she was getting disease-fighting “superpowers” (immunity) from the vaccine. It’s all in how you think about it!
Want more information? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a nice brochure –
Dr. Isadora Botwinick is a Mama. A Physician.