Getting Over Your Vaccine Fears

There’s a growing number of parents who are concerned about the safety of commonly administered vaccines. Sticking a long needle into an infant’s soft skin can make any parent wince. However momentarily painful they are, vaccinations are nothing to be afraid of.

Vaccines aren’t linked with autism

Ever since British researcher Andrew Wakefield theorized that the MMR vaccine was linked to gastrointestinal diseases and autism, some frightful parents have latched on to the idea, despite retractions by the scientific community. Doctors give infants between 12-18 months of age the MMR vaccine to protect against the measles, mumps, and rubella.

Signs of autism usually develop around the same time giving parents reason to believe in the farfetched theory. Correlation does not mean causation, however. Many studies have all-but cleared up this myth, but some parents continue to be afraid of vaccinations.

Vaccines don’t weaken your infant’s immune system

Although infants are getting more vaccines than in previous years, that’s no reason to worry. A crying infant can be troubling, but research shows that getting all immunizations will protect an infant from viruses and bacteria. Vaccines introduce foreign invaders, in small doses, to build an immunity against them, not a vulnerability.

Vaccines don’t cause allergies or asthma

A theory has been floating around that vaccines can work too well, which can increase the risk of developing allergies to common irritants or asthma. There’s no clear cause why some children develop allergies or asthma and some do not. Genetics may play a role, but vaccinations do not.

Vaccines don’t cause severe adverse reactions

Parents may fear that vaccinations, especially new ones, will cause a severe negative reaction. Vaccinations against common diseases like chickenpox, for example, can go a long way in preventing further complications. Untreated chickenpox can lead to skin infections, pneumonia, and encephalitis. Vaccinations can make these common diseases a thing of the past.

Staying informed is key to feeling empowered

Parents have enough to worry about including pregnancy issues, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and postpartum depression. Searching online can bring up loads of misinformation. Parents should visit trusted healthcare providers for more accurate information.