Vaccines are not without very serious risks. The short of it is this - if your child is eating healthy and leading an active lifestyle, and you don't wish to vaccinate, that is probably an okay decision. If your child is eating processed food and mostly sedentary - the risk of not getting your child vaccinated is greater than the risk of doing so.
The debate about vaccination rages and there are good points on both sides. Ultimately, it is up to the individual (or in the case of children, their parents) whether or not to vaccinate. First, we'll show you the pros and then the cons of vaccination. However, even after reading this, you should conduct more research and make a well-informed decision.
Vaccination saves lives. Regardless where you stand on the issue, it cannot be denied that millions of lives have been saved by vaccinations. One only needs to think of smallpox and of before the time there were vaccines for such diseases as polio and influenza. For modern examples, look at the diseases that destroy lives in areas that have little to no vaccines - for example, the latest Ebola outbreak in Africa.
There are two ways vaccines can protect you - either through direct vaccination or via herd immunity. Herd immunity is when at least 95% of a population (according to the CDC) has been vaccinated, making it impossible for a disease to jump hosts and infect people in the area. So, how does vaccination work? The simple explanation is that each vaccination is disease-specific. Antigens from a disease are introduced into the body and the body's immune system develops a memory of the antigen. Some vaccines, such as those for tetanus and measles last a long time (ten years and for life, respectively), while others are useful for a lesser period of time, e.g. rabies and flu vaccines.
What about people who refuse to vaccinate? Are they making the wrong decision? Maybe - and maybe not. Let's now look at some of the valid concerns regarding vaccines. First of all, a vaccine does not contain only the antigen against which it is designed to fight. There are several ingredients that go into vaccines, but some of the most common - and disconcerting - are formaldehyde, antifreeze, glycerin, lead, aluminum, and Thimerosal. The last ingredient, a compound containing 49% mercury, has been at the center of the anti-vaccination movement and has been linked to severe neurological damage. While it is important to understand that despite vaccinations having such possible side-effects as severe rash, brain damage, coma, and in the most extreme cases - death, side effects occur in only 1 out of every 10,000 children. Vaccine proponents argue that such a small risk is not worth the larger risk of not vaccinating your children.
Two more things need to be said here about vaccines. First, they inhibit the immune system from building up a natural immunity. Even many doctors who support vaccination recommend it be done when the child is at school age and that young children should be allowed to have their immune systems build up natural resistance. Another point to make is that immunity is improved through proper diet. With so many children on a diet of processed food and lacking fruit and vegetables that impart necessary nutrients for the immune system to be strong, vaccination can be a good thing. For those who eat a healthy diet and lead an active lifestyle, they may not be necessary. Still, erring on the side of caution says to go with vaccination - but if you are worried about any of the side effects, be sure that your child is properly nourished and remains active.
Possible short-term side effects
- difficulty breathing
- anaphylactic shock
- injection site reaction
- muscle / joint pain
Possible long-term side effects
- brain damage
- blood disorders
- multiple sclerosis
- coma (rare)
- death (rare)
Ingredients to be aware of
- protects against various diseases
- a nutritious diet
- staying active
Suggest improvement or correction to this article
Written by Jeff Volling | 12-28-2015
Written by Jeff Volling
Suggest improvement or correction