Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Blog Post #1: Parental Misconceptions Involving Vaccinations
Many parents look at vaccines and have misconceptions that it hurts their child more than it helps. Some common misconceptions that parents have are the following:
· Vaccines directly cause the disease they are trying to prevent.
Getting the disease you are trying to prevent by vaccination is very low. Only 1-5% of children that are actually vaccinated fail to develop immunity for the specific disease. This is why there are multiple doses of various vaccines, because each one continues to build more immunity until it reaches or nears 100%. This allows immune memory to kick in when exposed to the diseased antigen.
· Vaccines contain toxic ingredients.
Parents claim that vaccines contain harmful ingredients such as: mercury, formaldehyde, and aluminum. The “toxic” ingredients contained in the vaccines are in very small doses and have not been proven to have detrimental effects. These toxins are ingested or inhaled on a daily basis. Mercury is apparent in both milk and seafood. Formaldehyde is evident in vehicle exhaust fumes and every day products such as: carpets, cosmetics, paint, felt-tip markers, cough drops, antihistamines, and mouthwash. Aluminum is in different foods, drinking water, and many medicines. The average intake of aluminum is 30-50 mg per day, so an incomparably small amount in vaccines has little to no effect on the child.
· Vaccines that come in multiple doses will overwhelm a child’s immune system.
Children are exposed to thousands of antigens in their daily routine, which is considerably more than what they would get from a vaccine.
· Vaccines are expensive.
Vaccines can be a little pricey when you go to a private physician for routine vaccinations. Parents can choose an alternate method, the health department, which charges little to nothing for vaccinations, except for an administration fee. Another option for qualified parents is the Vaccines for Children program, which allows for free vaccinations at participating doctor’s offices.
· Vaccines are unnatural.
Children build up immunity through vaccines the same way they would if they developed a natural infection with a disease. The perk of immunity through vaccination is that the child won’t have to get sick first.
· Vaccines are directly related to other diseases.
Many parents associate the MMR vaccine with Autism and the DTP vaccine with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The main reason why the Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine is associated with Autism is due to Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 publication. He “linked” the MMR vaccine to autism after observing 12 children who developed autism shortly after being vaccinated. His publication was highly discredited due to having a small sample size, having information that wasn’t collected systematically, and the speculative nature of his conclusions. Later research proved no link at all between the two. Many parents also associate a connection between the Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis vaccine and SIDS. The reason why parents associate the two is because Suddent Infant Death Syndrome typically occurs around the same age the 3 doses of the vaccine are given. In several studies, there was either no association or decreased risk of SIDS in children who received the DTP vaccine.
· Certain vaccine-preventable diseases have been virtually eliminated, so there is no need to vaccinate my child.
Although vaccine-preventable diseases have been reduced to a very tiny amount in the United States, they are still prevalent in other countries. These diseases could be unknowingly brought into the United States and affect those who choose not to be vaccinated and those who are unable to vaccinate due to being allergic to vaccine components. It could cause an epidemic if the herd immunity threshold isn’t high enough to protect the unvaccinated individuals.
Overall, when parents come to the doctor's office and decide not to vaccinate their children, they need to be well informed of what's actually involved with vaccinations rather than browsing bias websites that don't have a solid, scientifically-proven argument against them.