Anyone who’s a parent — or who has a social media account — is well aware of the ongoing debate surrounding childhood vaccines. On one end of the discussion, there are those who argue about the need for vaccination to protect children from preventable diseases, as well as to keep immunocompromised kids safe. On the other end of the spectrum, there are parents who are hesitant about certain vaccinations, due to concerns about the damage some of these injections may cause. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Is there a gray area? In order to make it easier for you to decide what’s best for your child, it’s crucial to separate facts from myths.
5 Childhood Vaccines Myth & Facts
Myth #1: Some of These Vaccines Are Unnecessary Because These Diseases Were Eradicated Decades Ago
Fact: Diseases that used to be common around the 1940s — such as polio, measles, and typhus — are rare today precisely because of widespread vaccination. This doesn’t mean they are eradicated, however. To use such a term, the condition must be fully eliminated worldwide. Yet, according to the World Health Organization, at least 80 million children under the age of one are at risk of contracting such diseases due to the disruption in medical care from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Myth #2: The Pharmaceutical Industry Profits From Universal Vaccination, but There’s No Unbiased Proof That These Vaccines Are Safe
Fact: Vaccines in the United States must go through a thorough vetting process. First, they undergo clinical trials — which are designed by a team of healthcare professionals that are comprised of scientists and physicians. They are then closely monitored by additional experienced healthcare professionals. These vaccines must then be approved and licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Myth #3: Vaccines May Cause Autism in Young Children
Fact: Although environmental factors — such as pregnancies spaced less than a year apart, the advanced age of the parents at the time of conception, and/or birth complications — may increase the risk of autism, there is no scientific data linking vaccines to autism spectrum disorders. In addition, in 2013, The Journal of Pediatrics published a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that evaluated the association between autism and vaccines typically administered during the first two years of life. The study concluded that such vaccines are not associated with an increased risk of autism.
Myth #4: A Child’s Immune System Is Equipped to Handle Common Diseases Meant to Be Prevented by Vaccines
Fact: While it is true that the immune system is designed to protect individuals from disease — and that being exposed to illnesses may strengthen immunity by creating antibodies — when you do a risk/benefit analysis, it’s more beneficial for your child to get vaccinated against preventable diseases. For example, in 2018, more than 140,000 people died from measles, most of them children under the age of five. Yet, the measles vaccine has resulted in a 73% decrease in deaths in children worldwide.
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