Most parents dread the subject of vaccinations. The thought of inflicting a child with added pain as well as injecting them with “unknown” chemicals can make any new parent cringe with understandable stress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that parents vaccinate their children as soon as they’re born. As a child continues to grow, so does the list of recommended vaccinations for younger children and older children. Parents may become a bit overwhelmed and cautious with the amount of vaccines that their children are recommended to receive. While parents do have a choice in the matter of vaccinating their children, parents should always receive the best information when it comes to the health and well-being of their children for either choice.
Vaccinations are used as a means to reduce the risk of infection from a preventable disease by working with a person’s natural defense system to safely develop immunity to a disease to fight future exposures.
While parents do have just cause in their protective and cautious nature over the health of their child, according to the CDC and other reliable sources, there are legitimate reasons in providing your child with early immunizations.
- Prevents and protects children, community members and vulnerable unvaccinated members of society from contracting unnecessary and preventable illnesses
- Illnesses prevented by vaccinations include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Polio, Rotavirus, Mumps, Measles, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Rubella and several others.
- Provides immunity from these diseases in case of future exposure
- Helps eliminate these preventable diseases worldwide
Why Parents Don’t Immunize Their Children
Even though there are consistent and justifiable reasons for parents to vaccinate their children, there are some that choose not to vaccinate. While each parent has their own reasons for not vaccinating their child, there are common influences that cause parents to make that choice
- The connection between vaccinations and autism spectrum disorders
- The connection between vaccination and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SAIDS)
- The chemicals included in certain vaccines such as thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative
There has yet to be consistent scientific evidence concerning any adverse connections between vaccinations and autism, sudden infant death syndrome, or chemicals like thimerosal. That being said, parents will usually be cautious over unknown dangers concerning their children. If a parent does not vaccinate their child due to the previous statements or any personal beliefs, then these parents should be aware of the responsibility they have in keeping their child as well as the surrounding community safe.
If Parents Decide to Not Immunize Their Children: What Should They Do?
- Parents must learn about each vaccine-preventable disease, along with their symptoms and how each spreads. This knowledge can help prevent your child from contracting these unnecessary infections.
- Parents must inform specific outlets to keep the child and others healthy. These institutions include the child’s doctor or physician, the child’s school, childcare facility, and other caregivers. These places should always be informed because there could be a chance of infection from a preventable disease.
- If there is an outbreak of a preventable disease in the child’s community, be sure to contact your doctor and be aware that your child may be asked to leave their school, childcare, or etc.
- If your child does become exposed to a vaccine-preventable disease, parents must immediately contact their doctor and notify that the child is infected with a vaccine-preventable disease to keep all staff as safe as possible. Parents also need to isolate their child as much as possible to prevent a spread before medical attention is given.
The choice to not vaccinate is a great responsibility and must be taken with care.
A Final Word
While the subject of immunizations will always be a sensitive issue, parents should always confer with their doctor as well as research unbiased and legitimate sources of information to make the best decision for their child. Parents should feel secure and confident with the information presented to them. Whether parents decide to vaccinate or not, they must always keep in mind that they hold a great deal of responsibility over the health and well-being of their child.
For Further Information:
- CDC: How Vaccines Prevent Diseases
- CDC: If You Choose Not to Vaccinate
- CDC: Vaccine Safety and Adverse Events
- CDC: Why Vaccines are Important
- Immunize For Good: Why Vaccinate
- Immunize For Good: The Vaccines