The Reality of Vaccines and the Potential Side Effects

The issue of whether to vaccinate our children or not has become very controversial in recent years. Some argue that vaccinating newborns can lead to specific severe reactions, or even permanent diseases, down the road.

Others, including medical professionals, insist that vaccinations are quite safe and that serious reactions to these vaccines are not common.

As a new parent, the choice of whether to vaccinate your child can feel like a hard decision to make. However, more and more studies are showing support for vaccines and confirming that reactions to vaccination are rare.

The benefits of vaccinating your child, then, seem to far outweigh the minor chance of an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

Concerns for Parents

A big concern for parents is that by vaccinating your child against serious diseases – such as measles, mumps, and smallpox – there may be a link to autism and other conditions.

For whatever reason, many parents still believe that there is a link between the two, but we have to dig a little bit to find the truth. Scientists and doctors are doing their best to get the facts out to the public.

“There are no surprises here; vaccines are being shown over and over again to be quite safe,” said Cornelia Dekker, medical director of the vaccine program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Stanford. “The safety record for our US-licensed vaccines is excellent. There are a few vaccines that there are indeed adverse events, but the frequency is quite rare, and in almost all cases are very easy to manage.”

Immunizations have served an important role in eradicating some major diseases and controlling the outbreaks of others, including smallpox, polio, and measles. However, in recent years, more and more parents are not waiting to vaccinate their kids.

The problem, however, is that when parents refuse to immunize their children, many of those kids end up catching serious diseases that haven’t been seen for years.

The Research

The study showed that there is no link between immunizations and different chronic illnesses.

Researchers found no connection between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism, the DTaP vaccine and diabetes, or the Hepatitis B vaccine and sclerosis, according to the journal.

This information should be a relief to many parents, however many remain fearful.

It’s important to note that the ultimate goal of parents and clinicians is to keep our children healthy. Unfortunately, one false study, where the author ADMITTED to falsifying the results, has created a divide.

Side Effects are Rare

Additionally, serious side effects are rare after vaccinations. Many kids will show minor symptoms, such as fatigue or fever, but usually, that is it.

There have been other studies recently, including one by the Research and Development Corporation, that also found little or no link between vaccinating your child and later diseases.

This newer survey analyzed the safety of 11 vaccines for kids under age 6: TDAP, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, flu, meningococcal, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), varicella (chickenpox), Haemophilus flu-type b (Hib), pneumococcal, rotavirus and inactivated poliovirus immunizations.

Additionally, they found no connection among immunizations and youth leukemia, autism, sclerosis, or other serious conditions to the vaccines.

Common Side Effects

That being said, connections were made between a few immunizations with rare, adverse side effects.

  • The MMR vaccine: increased risk of fever-induced seizures
  • The flu vaccine: increased risk of gut upset such as diarrhea
  • The chickenpox vaccine was connected with a higher risk of complications in children with compromised immune systems.

Frequency of Adverse Effects

Even though there is a chance that your child will experience a slight side effect, the odds are low.

For example, the rotavirus antibody was connected with 15 instances of a bowel obstruction per 1 million dosages of the immunization, the survey said. In other words, out of every million kids who receive that vaccine, only 15 had a complication.

Additionally, only one in about 3,000 kids receiving the MMR vaccine had a fever-induced seizure, according to a survey conducted by IOM.

The Benefits Outweigh the Risks

Even these side effects were temporary, and most of the conditions went away quickly. It’s important to realize that these side effects are much less dangerous than the symptoms of the diseases these vaccines are protecting against.

For example, polio can lead to paralysis, blindness, and many other conditions that would devastate any parent.

Misleading Research

Over twenty years ago, a study that concluded that the MMR vaccine increased the risk of children developing autism.

The author of that paper admitted to making the whole thing up. He based his conclusions on data that just wasn’t true.

Unfortunately, those who oppose vaccinations in children often cite this study. This further preserves the myth that there is a link with autism. Still, many doctors and researchers are trying to convince the public that vaccinations are safe based on all the research available.

Set Your Eyes on the Facts

Parenting is such a challenge in today’s world. There is a barrage of choices, opinions, and conflicting advice that can be found among friends, family and the Internet.

We all want the best for our kids, especially regarding their health and wellbeing. We try to feed them nutritious food, make sure they are hydrated, and in general, try to help them thrive. The controversy surrounding childhood vaccines can feel frustrating at times. Especially because we all want to keep our kids as healthy as possible.

As long as we continue to rely on science-based research in the medical field, making decisions about vaccinating our children isn’t as complicated as it may feel.