When you're a parent, keeping up with the latest medical science can be a real challenge. A lot of parents don't have the time or resources to dedicate to finding studies throughout the year. Staying informed is important, though, especially when it comes to topics like vaccinations. Here are five studies about vaccinations from 2018 that every parent needs to read.
Keeping up with a kid's vaccination schedule can be complicated. Babies don't get every vaccination right after they're born. As outlined by Healthline, vaccinations are generally given over a child's first 24 months and many may be given in stages or doses.
There's no federal law that requires vaccination. However, each state has laws requiring that kids who attend public schools be vaccinated against the following, as reported by Pro Con: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (which is often given in a DTaP vaccine); polio (which is an IPV vaccine); measles and rubella (usually in a MMR vaccine); and varicella (which is chickenpox).
You can learn more about your specific state's requirements by contacting your child's doctor. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides information on how each state approaches vaccinations.
Lack of federal law doesn't mean you should skip your kid's vaccinations, though. These studies have added a lot to the conversation around vaccinations.
This Study Found More Evidence That the Immunization Schedule Is Safe
Kids' vaccination schedules can be daunting. Some parents may wonder if this vaccination schedule can open kids up to greater risk for developing other infections.
In March, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) offered more evidence for the safety of the childhood immunization schedule.
Researchers found that exposure to multiple vaccines through the first 23 months of life wasn't associated with any increased risk for infections.
This Study Proved The HPV Vaccine Helps Prevent Cervical Cancer
HPV stands for human papillomavirus and actually refers to a group of about 150 different viruses. The CDC noted that, in most cases, HPV will go away on its own but, if it doesn't, it can lead to genital warts and cancer.
Researchers from Cochrane published new evidence that showed the vaccine is effective in protecting people against developing cervical lesions, CNN reported.
The study noted people vaccinated between ages 15 and 26 saw the greatest protection against HPV.
This Study Found Repeat Flu Vaccines Don't Hurt Kids
A 2018 reported published by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital found one-third of parents planned to not seek flu shots for their kid during the next flu season, CNN reported.
Sure, it may seem excessive to get a flu shot every single year, but a new study showed there are benefits to it. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that kids who received a flu shot weren't less protected from the flu the following year, contrary to some concerns from parents and doctors about flu shots weakening a child's immunity.
In addition, NBC News reported that researchers found that multiple vaccinations actually tended to increase protection against a common strain of the virus.
This Study Showed Vaccines Don't Weaken "Natural Immunity"
A popular refute against vaccines is that they weaken kids' natural immunity.
The same study published in JAMA in March found that that simply isn't the case. According to the study, there's no significant difference in the level of immunity against non-vaccine-targeted infections.
Sean O'Leary, author of an editorial that accompanied the study, wrote, according to Contemporary Pediatrics, "Essentially, what this study confirms is that vaccines don't 'weaken' a child's immune system. Children who receive vaccines aren't any more likely to get sick from illnesses that are not targeted by the vaccines."
This Study Showed How To Change Attitudes About Vaccines
A study published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest found that most people avoid immunizations for themselves or their kids because of perceived barriers, rather than personal beliefs or lack of knowledge, as reported by the Washington Post.
Researchers argued that indirect behavior modification is most useful at changing opinions about vaccines. According to Mommyish, these kinds of things can include automatically-scheduled appointments, reminders, and things like financial incentives provided by employers.
There can be a lot of conflicting information about vaccines out there, but these 2018 studies add an awful lot to the conversation — and are important reads for all parents.