Many reports and articles are published in newspapers and magazines from time to time that ‘reveal’ the great risks and fatal facts about vaccines and how they can harm our child. They give statistics, data and case studies that prove that vaccination and immunization are actually pushing our children to their doom rather than giving them a healthy and disease-free life. MMR vaccines are alleged to cause autism and inflammation in bowel movements. These reports confuse parents and they worry about whether to give vaccines to their children or not. In this article, we will discuss some facts, tips and glimpses from the past that will help you to decide whether vaccines are good or bad.
In the pre-vaccine era, at least one child in each neighborhood suffered from polio and used to crawl or had a fitted iron leg. In pediatrics, in the whooping-cough ward, the doctors still cannot forget the sounds of children coughing and choking because of pneumonia. Incidents of brain damage from encephalitis caused by measles and the birth defects in babies whose mothers had German measles during pregnancy were very common. Meningitis and chicken pox were not only common but also fatal to little children. Due to the false alarm of reaction to DTP vaccine, Great Britain once temporarily stopped the routine use of the vaccine and the rise of whooping cough was quite alarming.
Thus, we can say that vaccines are a necessary public health measure and the vaccine schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics is one of the most followed one. Immunizations and vaccines help to stimulate child's immune defenses and produce antibodies against particular illnesses by introducing dead or weakened germs in the body. This helps the immune system to fight real germs so that they result in no or only mild symptoms of the disease. Doctors and vaccine policy makers give license only to those vaccines, which have more benefits the potential risks posed by them and the goal of worldwide vaccination policy is to eventually eliminate or at least reduce the prevalence and severity of diseases.
Smallpox was once considered a fatal or serious illness and hence the benefits of smallpox vaccine outweighed the risks associated with the vaccine. Later, when the disease was eradicated, routine smallpox vaccination is no more a part of the worldwide vaccination policy. Similarly, the decreasing cases of polio may result in the discontinuation of routine polio vaccinations after sometime. Most of the bad news or reports about vaccine reactions are greatly hyped up, have no substantial proofs to support them or are about vaccines that are no longer used. The DTaP or the acellular DTP vaccine that has a significantly lower risk of reaction has long replaced the old DTP vaccine, which such reports often criticize.
Similarly, according to researches by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Infectious Diseases, that there are no evidences available to substantially prove the alleged link between autism and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or the MMR vaccine and inflammatory-bowel disease. Similarly, it was also found that separate administrations of measles, mumps and rubella vaccines to children are not at all beneficial and may also result in delayed or missed immunizations. Though, an overall vaccine policy is a good guide to follow, perhaps, concerned parents may like to discuss the child’s vaccination schedule with their doctors and get it tailored according to the medical history and lifestyle and circumstances of the family for still better results.