Here’s a confession: I did not want to vaccinate my son, but I did anyway. As soon as I learned I was pregnant, I made a grand announcement that no child of mine would be injected with disease. My decision was so firm, that I would not even listen to reasons why you should vaccinate your kids. But after my first meeting with the woman who would become our pediatrician, I started to slightly open myself up to entertaining the idea of vaccines. See, the biggest flaw in my grandstanding was that I had no reasons — I had not done research or interviews or any type of due diligence on the subject. My entire decision was based on fear.

At the time I was pregnant, the media was sizzling hot with the controversy over side-effects from vaccinations and I was plagued with fear that my child would suffer if I had him immunized. When I explained this to the pediatrician, she help to calm my fear my creating an individualized schedule for my son’s vaccines. Working together, we came up with a plan that made me feel more than comfortable. Some we skipped; others we waited on until well after the recommended age. Overall, it helped me to understand that I could take things slow and still protect my child from some illnesses.

When it comes to the decision about vaccines, the struggle is real. If you’re not sure which route is the right one for you, make sure to consider both sides of the argument. To help you get started, here are seven reasons you should vaccinate your child.

1. It Provides Everyday Protection


Public health has come along way since the creation of vaccinations. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are 14 serious childhood illnesses that vaccinations can help prevent kids from contracting. These diseases — which have had devastating effects in the past — can be sidelined by being vaccinated.

2. It Stops The Spreading Of Diseases


Due to certain medical conditions, some people can not receive vaccinations. But since many vaccine-preventable diseases are still affecting large numbers of people every year, making sure your child is immunized for these diseases stops them from spreading further.

3. It Protects Your Financial Long Game


Illness and disease management is a huge expense for those affected. According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, more than 10 billion dollars goes toward treating preventable diseases each year. A large financial burden could be avoided by using a vaccine to prevent one of these diseases.

4. It Prevent Outbreaks


When outbreaks happen, it’s caused by critical mass. As the Immunization Action Coalition pointed out, “outbreaks of preventable diseases occur when many parents decide not to vaccinate their children.”

5. It Keeps Kids Healthier


When vaccines are successful, the spreading of these diseases decrease dramatically. However, the bacteria and viruses that cause these diseases still exist. But people vaccinated from these diseases do not contract or spread the illness, according the website for Healthy Kids.

6. It Protects Them When Traveling


Since some transmittable diseases are more prevalent in other countries than in the United States, the CDC recommends checking if your destination has any suggested immunizations, which you can do through a database of countries listed on their website.

7. It’s Your Choice


As a parent, you have to trust your instincts. When making the decision to vaccinate or not, it’s important to check your motivations, fears, and research before choosing. But the bottom line is, you should make the choice based on what you feel is best for you child. Because after all, you do have the right to choose.