The Vaccine Debate

Many parents of young children who once would have vaccinated their children without question are now giving pause to the idea, with worries about the risks of vaccines sprouting across the world. While it may seem like a personal decision, that decision can impact the other children and families in the neighborhood. If you are a mother, father or guardian who is tasked with making a decision about whether or not to vaccinate your child, here are some important things that you need to know about the vaccine debate:


What Vaccine Opponents Say

Many parents in the United States have become convinced that not only are vaccinations unnatural, but that they are downright dangerous for kids to get. One of the major concerns with vaccines, and the reason that many parents have refused to vaccinate their children, is a fear that vaccines cause autism (this is a theory that has been debunked time and time again, including by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). While anti-vaccination opinions originally started with the autism fear, today, this fear has evolved into something much simpler: parents believe that vaccinations are “unnecessary.”


What Vaccine Proponents and the CDC Says

Those who are in support of vaccines, including the scientists of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agree that there are some risks of vaccines–such as severe allergic reaction–but that these risks are very rare and only affect a very small fraction of the population. The greater concern, however, is the spread of preventable disease as a result of not vaccinating your child. Today, outbreaks of diseases that were once considered eradicated, such as measles, have made a comeback in areas where parents have refused to vaccinate their children, and lives have been lost as a result. By choosing to not vaccinate your child, not only are you putting your own child at risk of contracting a dangerous and potentially deadly disease, but other children, too. There are some children who cannot get vaccines for particular reasons, ranging from immunodeficiency disorders and cancers to young age; these children rely on other children around them being vaccinated.


To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate

Medical professionals are in agreement: vaccinations are a key part of disease prevention, and critical for the well-being of society. If you have specific questions or concerns about vaccines, you should talk to your child’s pediatrician for information from an expert.