After the recent Disneyland measles outbreak, many people have been asking: should I vaccinate my child? There is a lot of controversy and pseudo-science out there arguing against it. However, it’s important to remember that the pros of vaccination far outweigh the cons.
What Makes Up a Vaccine?
A vaccine is essentially a small dose of the disease. Weakened or killed versions of the virus or bacteria are injected into the body in order to help the body prepare against the disease. As your body learns as it goes, fighting against a dead, and therefore false, infection, will help your or your child’s immune system develop antibodies that fight against the disease. This way, if the body ever encounters the real infection later on, it will be prepared, and you will not get sick.
Why Do People Dislike Vaccines?
Many people think that vaccines cause autism in children, but this has since been proved to be based on a falsified study. Also, even if this were true, most people and doctors would agree that a child living with autism is better than a child paralyzed from polio or dead from the measles.
A more logical concern that many parents have is that their child will actually become seriously ill with this disease from the vaccine. After all, the virus or bacteria is entering the body. But you must remember, it is severely weakened or even dead. It is not whole, and therefore while there may be some reactions, it is very unlikely that your child will become gravely ill.
There are certain cases where people with already-weak immune systems cannot receive vaccines. This is all the more reason for you to vaccinate your child, as those who are unvaccinated (including babies who are too young) are protected when everyone else is vaccinated. Because of this, most schools require that your child receives certain vaccinations before enrolling, with a few exceptions based on health or religions reasons.
There have been many diseases that have been completely eradicated in the United States thanks to vaccines, including polio. Measles was almost eradicated; this last outbreak has consisted of as many cases in about a month as there have been yearly for the past few decades.
Overall, the risks of vaccinations pale in comparison when you consider them alongside the risks of the diseases they prevent. The are made to keep you and your family healthy, and they succeed if they are used.