This Pediatrician’s 411 on Vaccines
I love when kids come in for their well checks and I get to tell them, “Guess what, no shots today!!” Unfortunately, that introduction is not always the case and even though I wish all kids would happily trot into their pediatrician’s office without fear, vaccines are a standard of care in our line of work.
Vaccine education is a significant part of our visit when kids come in for their check ups. There are usually a lot of questions surrounding the routine schedule and number of vaccines and possible deviations from that standard schedule.
Thankfully, there are many combination vaccines available now, which decreases the amount of injections your little one has to receive. But even with all of the medical advances in vaccines, the hundreds of years vaccines have been around, and the decrease in diseases we have seen, there is still a lot of fear surrounding vaccines.
One of the most well known studies against vaccines showed a link between MMR and autism and was conducted by Andew Wakefield in 1998. The New England Journal of Medicine published a study showing a link between the vaccine, autism, and possible bowel disease. It caused a big uproar among parents and physicians and led to many people refusing to have their kids vaccinated against MMR. 12 years and many studies later, the article was completely discredited due to being flawed both scientifically and ethically. Since then there has been a ton of research conducted on the MMR vaccine and its possible link to autism and they found NO link between the two. But the damage was already done and it was hard to convince parents that they do not have to be scared of vaccinating their 1 year old kids against these very dangerous diseases. As a result, we saw the United States go from declaring that measles had been eliminated to having a resurgence of measles in 2015 with the Disneyland outbreak.
Thank goodness we live in an era where small pox is something you only read about in books and the consequences of polio seem like they only happen in third world countries. But what we don’t realize is that these diseases are real. The fatalities from these diseases are real and the protection these vaccines provide is REAL.
We as moms are inherently over protective of our children. The list of worries about them is pages long. So along with breastfeeding and making nutritious foods and making sure they get their vitamins and all the other things we bend over backward in order to ensure their health and happiness, please add vaccinating your children to that very important list.