Safety concerns about vaccination are not rare. Many parents have reservations about various vaccines, which force them not to immunize their kids. Despite overwhelming evidence about their safety, these parents stay away from them. If you belong to this group of misinformed parents, it is time for you to understand the value of vaccinations. Here are some myths associated with vaccines and the facts behind them.
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1.Vaccines Are Not Necessary
Vaccination is vital in preventing infectious diseases. Better hygiene and sanitation prevent the spread of diseases to a great extent. Hand wash and clean water can protect you from infections. But, there are several infections, which can still spread regardless of how clean you are.1 If we stop vaccinations, most diseases that have disappeared will make a comeback.
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2.Too Many Vaccines Weaken The Baby’s Immune System
The long list of immunization schedules recommended by your doctor may have scared you. It is natural to have safety concerns. The fact is that vaccines do not weaken the immune system. They contain weakened or killed versions of germs that cause a disease. Thus, they stimulate the body’s defence mechanisms to fight diseases. The viral or bacterial components of a vaccine used to challenge the immune system are called antigens. Your kid is exposed to several hundreds of germs and antigens in daily life, that can cause an immune response. Compared to that vaccines contain only a few antigens. Thus, vaccines will have no adverse effect on your child’s immune system. Also, researchers have conducted many studies to examine the effects of combined vaccinations. These studies have found that such combinations carry no risk.2
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3.Vaccines Have Side Effects And Can Even Be Fatal
Sometimes, mild, moderate vaccine reactions such as fever or sore arm may result after receiving shots. Remember, worse things could happen to your children without vaccines. If they are not protected with immunization, polio can cause paralysis and measles can cause encephalitis and blindness.
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4.Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Are Almost Eradicated
Vaccine-preventable diseases have almost been eliminated. But, this has not reduced the risk of exposure to infectious disease. The agents responsible for the diseases still exist in some parts of the world. They can infect a person who is not protected, resulting in an outbreak. This has happened in many countries. The measles outbreak in the UK is an example.3 So, continuing vaccination programs is essential in containing these diseases.
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5.Vaccines Contain Toxins
Some vaccines contain preservatives. Thimerosal is a preservative used in very small amounts in vaccines. It contains a form of mercury called ethyl mercury. However, it is not associated with any toxic effect. Similarly, the tiny amount of aluminum used in vaccines does not have any long-term effect. Aluminum salts in vaccines enhance your kid’s immune response. The amount of formaldehyde is also very minute and does not pose risks.
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6.Vaccines Cause Autism And Other Disorders
The reason behind this fear is a research study that came out in 1998. The study raised concerns about a possible link between measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. However, the findings have been rejected and the paper has been retracted by the journal. The recent research studies have rejected relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. 4 None of the vaccines are linked to autism or any other disorders.
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7.Immunization Is Unnatural
Vaccines provide the same stimulus to the immune system as an infection. Thus, without going through the complications of the disease, your kids will be able to produce an immune response. If you want them to get that infection naturally through a disease, then they will have to suffer a lot. It can be through some birth defects from rubella or death from measles. Vaccination offers effective protection from diseases sans any complication.
The concern for the health of your baby is what is making you believe all the myths. In fact, if you are worried about the well-being of your little one, you should not miss shots. High immunization rates guarantee that dreadful diseases like measles or polio will not come back to haunt the coming generation.