13 Common Questions Parents Have About Vaccinations
Do you find yourself worrying about getting your child immunized? Have you heard stories or read posts on Facebook that leave you confused about vaccinations and unsure what’s science and what’s fiction in all the differing opinions out there? Trust us, we’ve been there too, which is why we’ve created this quick guide for parents about vaccinations in Houston.
Check out these common questions we hear from parents all the time and learn what the easy, and true science is behind vaccinations.
1- Why Vaccinate?
The short answer? Vaccinations help protect your children, and everyone they come into contact with, from the most deadly diseases humanity has faced. Vaccinations essentially educate your child’s immune system so that it can identify and defend itself from the most dangerous germs and viruses. Additionally, when every healthy individual has been properly vaccinated the weak and unhealthy individuals in society are ALSO protected from these diseases. For a more thorough explanation of why you should vaccinate your children check out our article “Should My Child Get Vaccinated?”
2- Is Vaccination Safe?
Let’s cut right to the chase. You’ve probably read a thing or two on social media that have raised concerns about the safety of vaccinations for one reason or another. However, the truth of the matter is that vaccinations are put through RIGOROUS testing and are reviewed by scientists, doctors, health care professionals, and government officials before ever being distributed to you and your children. As a matter of fact, according to the CDC, “The United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history. The vaccine safety system ensures that vaccines are as safe as possible.” Learn more about the safety of vaccines here.
3- Will My Child Get Autism From A Vaccination?
No. There is no link between autism and vaccinations. This theory has been tested and disproven over and over again. Additionally, those ingredients that people have expressed concern about, such as Thimerosal, have been essentially eliminated from use in vaccinations according to the Centers for Disease Control.
4- If These Diseases Have Disappeared Do I Still Need To Vaccinate?
Vaccinations are the reason diseases like Measles, Mumps, and Hepatitis B aren’t common threats during childhood anymore and while it might be easy to assume this means they aren’t a threat anymore, the truth is quite the opposite. Mainly because these diseases are still present and common in other areas of the world and when enough individuals aren’t vaccinated against these diseases they can and will reappear. What’s worse, they’ll come back in force! Check out question number 5 to see real-life examples of what happens if we stop vaccinating.
5- What if we stopped vaccinating?
When we stop vaccinating the diseases will come back en force and spread through our communities in significant and deadly ways. And we aren’t guessing this will happen, we know it will because we’ve actually seen the real-life consequences on public health in countries that stopped immunizing. In Japan, Great Britain, and Sweden parents stopped immunizing their children against Whooping Cough because they were afraid of the ingredients in the vaccine. Within 5 years rates of infection from the disease went from practically non-existent to hundreds of thousands of infected children and dozens of deaths. Read more about this.
6- Are vaccines 100% effective?
No, there is no way to make vaccines 100% effective. However, this isn’t due to a failure in the design, distribution, or application of vaccines. It is related to the individual immune systems of those who have received the vaccination. For whatever reason, some people simply don’t develop the immunities we hope they will develop when exposed to the weakened disease. Additionally, while we can not guarantee 100% success, studies have shown that vaccinations are effective as much as 95% of the time.
7- How Does a Vaccination work?
Vaccines are made using dead germs, deactivated germs, or simply parts of germs. When these are introduced to the body they teach the immune system to identify intruding germs and eliminate the threat without requiring you or your child to suffer the symptoms of the disease. This education prepares the immune system to protect the body in the future.
8- Why do vaccinations require boosters?
There are 4 reasons where you or your child may need to get multiple doses of a certain vaccination in order to provide full protection from the disease in question.
- Reason 1- In certain cases one dose is not enough to teach for full defense against the disease, so multiple doses are needed to create a more complete immunity.
- Reason 2- Certain immunizations will actually begin to wear off over time, in a sense your immune system starts to forget what it’s protecting against. Additional doses after a number of years can recharge your immunity to those diseases.
- Reason 3- With some vaccinations, one dose does not end up building up enough antibodies to fight off the actual disease if it attacks. For this reason, additional doses are needed to help your body build that defense so you are truly protected.
- Reason 4- Some diseases are constantly evolving, specifically the flu, which means that from year to year your body needs to be re-informed on how to identify and defend against the flu every year to keep up with how it changes.
9- What is Herd Immunity?
Herd immunity is a term used by medical professionals and scientists to describe the additional layer of safety that comes to a community of individuals when the large majority of them are immune to a disease. Because healthy individuals in the group are resistant to the disease it can not spread amongst the “herd” making the group as a whole immune. Additionally, individuals who do not have strong immune systems are protected from ever having to encounter the disease.
10- Can Everyone Be Vaccinated? Are There People Who Shouldn’t Be Vaccinated?
The truth is, while we wish everyone could receive the protection of immunizations there are certain individuals in society who can NOT be vaccinated due to their already compromised immune systems. For example, those who are allergic to vaccines, those who are currently fighting off chronic illnesses, the elderly and children who have weak immune systems.
If you are concerned whether you or your child should be receiving a vaccine feel free to explore these guidelines provided by the CDC to help individuals determine if they should be dosed with specific vaccinations.
11- If Immunizations Are Safe, Why Are There So Many Warnings About Side-effects In My Paperwork?
Every immunization has the potential for side effects, most of which are incredibly minor such as a little swelling at the site of the injection or a slight fever or headache. There is a small chance that more severe side-effects can occur such as allergic reactions to the vaccine.
However, when we put these side effects into context, the risks of contracting the diseases you are vaccinating against are FAR worse than any risk of side effects that might come from a vaccination.
12- Do Vaccines Have Aborted Fetal Tissue?
No, vaccinations do not include tissue from aborted fetuses.
The rubella virus included in the MMR vaccine is created using human cell lines. The vaccination material is separated from the human cells where it was grown before being added to the vaccination.
Some of the cell lines used were generated from legal abortions in the 1960’s, but no new fetuses are used to create vaccines today.
13- Can you get a disease from the vaccine that was supposed to prevent it?
No, this almost never occurs. Most vaccines contain inactivated or dead forms of the disease they are helping protect against. Dead germs and viruses can not infect your child.
Certain immunizations, “live attenuated” ones, do contain live germs in a weakened state. Occasionally from these, your child can get what may look like a mild form of the disease, such as a small rash. However, this is harmless and actually a sign that the vaccine is working and is nothing like the actual symptoms that would come when infected with the disease.
One exception to this was the live oral polio vaccine that in a few rare cases mutated and caused a case of polio. Other than these few rare situations this was a very effective vaccine. However, this vaccine is no longer used in the US.
If you have any additional questions about making the vaccination decision for your children, please come on down to Clinica Del Sol today and speak to one of our care providers so you can receive the guidance and answers you need to have peace of mind about your child’s care.