Vaccines are one of the most important developments for the public health and safety of the twentieth and twenty-first century. They are safe and have saved countless childhood and adult lives from preventable diseases that previously resulted in disability or death.
An example is the Rotateq vaccine against rotavirus which used to be one of the most common causes of infant mortality world wide from vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. The use of this successful vaccine has reduced hospitalizations in USA infants by 84%. Menactra or the vaccine for a type of meningitis has been equally successful in reducing disease and fatal outcomes in children 2 and up.
Polio vaccine in both its forms is the classic example of how as a nation we eliminated paralytic disease.
Many people feel vaccines are unsafe and there is a lot of non scientific suggestion from movie and tv personalities to that effect; however, the science and rigorous testing shows a strong safety record.
Wayne A. Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
I would first like to say that vaccines are important. However, some are not required and have had high amounts of mercury in them. The question is more like does the mercury in these shots cause brain damage or other illnesses related to autism and more. Nobody really knows the answer. So as a parent, I question each vaccine. I decided not to get the Hepatitis vaccine when my little girl was a baby. There was really no need and the risk would have outweighed the purpose in my opinion. However, I do think children should get there basic shots. Getting extra shots like Hep and more is not needed in infancy and really can be held off until latter years. While the baby is developing, it is critical to think about how these shots may affect him or her. Having an open mind and educating yourself about each disease is alos a good idea. Polio is a nasty disease. But how many cases are there reported a year? It is nearly non exsistant. So why do we continue to vaccinate? Questions like this have always made me wonder.
Many people voice concerns about vaccines based on unscientific information. However, the benefits of vaccinating a child outweigh a slight possibility of an adverse reaction. In fact, anything that goes into the body: food, beverages, medicines, and vaccines has a potential for a reaction, but it is rather unlikely.
Research has shown that vaccines are safe and very effective in preventing diseases that they are designed to prevent. In my opinion parents have responsibility to vaccinate their children, first to protect them from disfiguring or even life-threatening disease, and second to create the so-called herd immunity.
Childhood immunizations have significantly reduced the number of children affected by devastating diseases. More information about the importance of childhood vaccinations is available on Education.com here:
This special edition features: immunization schedules; the scoop on individual vaccines; vaccinations and immunizations required for kindergarten; and more, including the busting of common myths.
On a personal note:
Polio killed one of my grandmother's relatives (and by extension, one of my kin), because there wasn't yet a vaccine available for this devastating disease at that time. It used to be very common in the U.S., paralyzing and killing thousands of people a year before we had a vaccine for it. More info about it linked below, including why we still need to vaccinate against polio to this day.
I know that, thanks to vaccinations, children get less sick, they are not exposed to viruses like in very poor countries, like Africa, where children there still die from a simple respiratory infection. The virus of polio, between 1960-1970, was killing people till the vaccine to fight that virus was found and saved so many lives. Vaccination are for saving lives, viruses are for distroying lives; so we need to protect ourselves and most of all our children.