Fear of side effects from vaccines has caused many parents to avoid vaccinating their children. The decrease in immunization rates could make it more difficult to control a resurgence in preventable diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Studies have found no links between vaccines and chronic illness.
Here are 10 real facts about vaccine risks:
Although some parents have raised concerns about a connection between vaccines and autism, there is no causal relationship, according to a 2004 review by the Institute of Medicine and a study published in the March 29, 2013 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, the recent study reviewed vaccines given during the first two years of life and found no association with immunological stimulation from vaccines.
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There was no difference in the incidence of autism for children who received the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine and those who did not receive the vaccine, according to a study reported in the British Medical Journal.
Measles cases dropped dramatically in the U.S. since the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963. There was an outbreak of measles in 1998 and 1999, but all cases were imported into the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. During those years, one in 500 people who contracted measles died. A drop in vaccinations would increase measles cases and deaths.
The mistaken connection between autism and the MMR vaccine may be due to timing, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted
. Symptoms of the developmental disorder are often identified between the age of 18 months and 30 months, about the time when the MMR vaccine is commonly administered.
Vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio do not increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to the World Health Organization
. The myth about the link may have occurred because of the age the vaccinations are given. A sudden infant death is coincidental and not related to the vaccine.
Children not vaccinated for protection against serious diseases, such as whooping cough or diphtheria, risk death or serious disability. California saw 9,120 cases of whooping cough in 2010, more than any year since the vaccine was introduced, leading to 10 infant deaths due to the fall in immunization rates, according to PublicHealth.
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Vaccines remain safe and are not related to long-term side effects. Some reactions are minor and temporary, such as sore arms or a mild fever. More serious health reactions are very rare and monitored closely. The diseases vaccines prevent are far more serious and deadly.
Good hygiene and sanitation alone will not prevent serious diseases. The incredible success of vaccines has made many diseases vanish, but the threat is still there when people stop vaccinating themselves or their children. Major outbreaks of polio and measles could reappear significantly if vaccinations decrease.
Children given several vaccines at the same time do not face adverse effects on their immune system. Young children are commonly exposed to bacteria and substances in food that affect the immune system. Having several vaccines at a time saves money and time, especially when a vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella only takes one injection.
Vaccines are normally effective against influenza, which kills up to 500,000 people worldwide each year, reports the World Health Organization. Pregnant women and their unborn, small children, elderly people and those with chronic health conditions need vaccines for protection from the flu.
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This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.
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