Vaccine or no vaccine?
This has become one of the most relevant questions of the last decade as more and more people start to question the status quo of having their children vaccinated.
In fact, the anti-vax movement has been listed by the World Health Organization as one of the top 10 health threats for 2019. There has become a great rift between scientific proof and the public’s general opinion on vaccines. Just in April this year, many news channels reported a full-blown measles outbreak in the US, and many people blame the anti-vax movement.
As parents, we have the immense responsibility of making this vaccine decision for our children.
Here’s everything science needs you to know about vaccines:
How do vaccines work?
Think of it this way – you make sure to buckle your child in the car seat even though you don’t expect to run into a vehicular accident, right? Vaccines also prevent dangerous or even deadly diseases, even if your child may be at low-risk contracting these illnesses. You don’t want them to be missing the protection that vaccines provide if they ever come to a point of needing it.
Vaccines also help strengthen your baby’s immune system. From birth, your child is already exposed to thousands of germs every day. They are born with immune systems that can combat these germs, but not enough to handle deadly diseases. Vaccines contain tiny amounts of antigens that boost your child’s immune system. Getting a vaccine or getting the disease will both give you future protection from that disease. The difference is that vaccines give you the protection without having to get sick from the disease.
What do vaccines contain?
Everything added to vaccines play important roles either in manufacturing the vaccine, triggering the body to develop immunity or in making sure that the vaccine is effective and safe.
- Stabilizers – to keep the vaccine effective after production (also occur naturally in the body)
- Formaldehyde – to prevent bacterial contamination during the production process (also occurs naturally in the body, even in larger quantities than vaccines)
- Adjuvants – increase the body’s response to the vaccine
Some websites claim that these ingredients are harmful, but always make sure to check your source’s credibility before banking your child’s health and future immunity on them.
Are vaccines safe?
The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) prioritizes the administration of safe vaccination. Before a vaccine is ever given to actual people, the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) oversees extensive lab testing that may take a few years to make sure it’s safe and effective. Once a vaccine is licensed, the CDC, the NIH, and the FDA, along with other government health agencies monitor the vaccine and investigate any potential safety concerns.
Like all medicines, vaccines may cause mild side effects such as pain or redness at the injection site, and low-grade fever. Severe side effects are extremely rare (think one in a million). If you have any concerns about a vaccine, make sure to only consult with your child’s doctor and not the internet.