Vaccines are considered one of the most powerful interventions of public health in the 20th century. Every year, vaccines protect billions of children from numerous deadly and debilitating infections like measles and polio.
Yet, growing numbers of parents are opting to delay vaccination, partially vaccinate, or completely forgo vaccination for their kids.
Let’s talk a look at why parents are (sometimes) hesitant to vaccinate their children or complete a full course of vaccination, and how their concerns can be addressed.
Are Vaccines Safe?
It is challenging to sort through all the misinformation about vaccines and the anti-vaccination rhetoric these days.
Overwhelming scientific evidence has suggested that vaccines, like other medical interventions, are safe and effective in preventing infectious diseases.
However, some parents fear that vaccines can make their children sick. This concern has mostly been raised by parents who have vaccinated their children before and whose children experienced an adverse reaction. They say that vaccines overwhelm the immune system of their child, introduce infectious germs to them, and make them sick (from the side effects).
Parents may also be concerned about the potential long-term side effects of vaccines, such as the long-term impact of the vaccine on the immune system or the potential for the vaccine’s ingredients (additives like thimerosal) to cause neurodevelopmental problems like autism.
There is absolutely no evidence that shows vaccines cause autism, and medical providers and researchers agree that vaccines do not cause such side effects and are safe. In addition, vaccines are tested for safety through years of research in labs and on animals before they are approved for human use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Once a vaccine is FDA-approved for human use, the safety measure doesn’t stop there. Vaccines on the market are continuously monitored for safety through ongoing surveillance and reporting systems, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Therefore, vaccines available from doctor’s offices are generally very safe.
It’s important to mention here that pro-vaccination parents may have concerns about the safety of vaccines, but generally, they still choose to vaccinate their children based on the scientific evidence that supports the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
Concerns of Vaccinated Children
Vaccinated children rarely have concerns about the vaccine as they have already received vaccines and have likely experienced the mild (and easily manageable) side effects of vaccines. Young children may not like the common side effects of vaccines, like a sore arm, so they may be concerned about vaccines. However, it’s the job of the parents to console their children and explain how vaccines can help them stay healthy.
It is possible for older children (especially teens) to have concerns about vaccines, mainly if they hear or read misinformation about the vaccine from people around or on social media.
While it can be challenging, parents can address such concerns by providing them with factual information about vaccines in a calm manner. The child’s pediatrician may also help parents address their concerns.
See a Pediatrician to Address These Concerns
To make an informed decision about your child’s health and seek out accurate information about vaccines, it’s best to see your child’s pediatrician. Your child’s pediatrician not only will provide accurate and reliable information about vaccines but may also help you navigate social pressures and criticism from those who do not support vaccines.
Vaccination in Palm Harbor, FL
Vaccines help boosts the immunity of your child against a variety of infectious and deadly illnesses. This helps teach the immune system how to fight germs and thereby helps your child become resistant to infection or have a milder form of the illness if they are infected.
At Children’s Medical Center, we believe that all children should receive vaccines according to the guideline provided by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
If you would like to receive up-to-date information on the history, development, safety, and ingredients of vaccines, talk to one of our pediatricians about it by making an appointment with us!
You can call us at (727) 787-6335 or call one of our locations closest to you. For your convenience, we have locations in Palm Harbor, Westchase, Trinity, and Lutz, Florida. We look forward to serving you!