The question of whether or not to vaccinate your child has been a hot topic in the parenting community. Those in favor of vaccinations cite the importance of protecting children against dangerous and sometimes deadly illnesses, while those opposed often believe that the vaccinations do more harm than good. But no matter what side of the argument you come down on, there are myths about vaccines you should be aware of.
Although vaccines are not 100 percent effective at preventing your child from contracting the disease, it can often be even more dangerous to their health to leave them unprotected and exposed to certain illnesses. Your decision not to vaccinate can also put other children at risk, as many diseases cannot be eliminated unless a majority of the population has been treated for it.
You may think that your children are being vaccinated against illnesses that haven't been around in ages, making the shots unnecessary. But as Parenting noted, in fact it's the vaccines that are keeping people safe. To stop vaccinating against these outdated diseases could reintroduce them into the population.
If you're wondering whether or not you should have your child vaccinated, check out this list of myths and consult with your pediatrician to make an informed choice.
Myth #1: Giving Your Child So Many Shots Can Overwhelm Their Immune System
You don't have to worry about your baby's immune system's ability to handle vaccinations. According to Parents, babies are born with antibodies to protect them against infections. Receiving a vaccine will not cause them harm.
Myth #2: If Other Children Get Their Shots, Your Child Doesn't Have To
According to Parenting, not vaccinating your children puts them at greater risk for contracting serious diseases. In order for a disease such as the measles not to spread among children, Parenting noted that 95 percent of the population would need to be vaccinated. So better to be part of that 95 percent.
Myth #3: Your Baby Will Get The Disease The Vaccine Is Supposed To Prevent
According to Parenting, most vaccines are made from a killed version of the virus. Those vaccines that are made of a live weakened virus can cause your child to experience a mild fever, but this discomfort is far less dangerous than contracting an often deadly illness itself.
Myth #4: Vaccines Cause Autism
Though the risk of autism is one of the most common reasons parents choose not to vaccinate their children, there hasn't been any evidence of a direct correlation between the two. As PublicHealth.org noted, research has proven that children show symptoms of autism before they receive the MMR vaccine, and could possibly develop autism in utero.
Myth #5: Vaccines Can Cause SIDS
The World Health Organization points out that the combined vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis along with the vaccine for poliomyelitis are given at a time when babies are highly susceptible to SIDS, but there is no direct link between the vaccines and SIDS. By not vaccinating your child, you are leaving them susceptible to four life-threatening illnesses.
Myth #6: It's Best To Space Out Vaccines
Some parents choose to delay certain vaccines in an effort to spare their children some pain. According to USA Today, postponing shots leaves babies at risk. The shot schedule was developed by the CDC to protect babies as soon as possible. Additionally, the publication noted that a child's stress hormone levels are at their highest after one shot, and therefore aren't greatly affected by receiving additional shots at the same time.
Myth #7: Improved Sanitation Is Responsible For Eliminating Disease
Improvements in hygiene and sanitation have helped make living conditions safer, but vaccines are still important to keep the population healthy. The World Health Organization cautions that some diseases such as measles and polio will be reintroduced into the population unless people continue to vaccinate themselves.
Myth #8: You Shouldn't Vaccinate A Child With A Cold
Parents may think that vaccinating a child who is sick to have a bad reaction. But according to Parenting, a mild illness is no reason to delay a scheduled vaccine.
Myth #9: Vaccines Are 100 Percent Effective
It has been proven that vaccines are an effective way to protect children from disease. But as with most things, vaccines aren't always 100 percent effective. As Parenting mentioned, vaccines are generally 95 percent effective when made with a live weakened version of the virus, while those made with an inactive virus are 75 to 80 percent effective. The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely people are to contract the illness.