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Fear No Evil, Fear No Shot: Vaccinating Children Should Be Considered Safe

1857 words - 7 pages

Illnesses such as pertussis, meningitis, and the flu are not extinct, nor are they easily treated if contracted, particularly by children. However, it seems that some parents of small children will not consent to have their children vaccinated against these and other life-threatening illnesses because they are convinced that some of these vaccinations cause SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), autism, or have other serious side effects. Although many studies have been conducted, and the majority have found no cause for alarm, many parents are still skeptical. While these parents are exercising caution and with understandable concern, medical research has shown that what parents should fear most is the possibility that their children could contract whooping cough or measles and die and unnecessary death. All children should be vaccinated, not just for their own physical health and well being, but also for the safety of others who come into contact with them.
To begin with, vaccines are considered the most effective defense against 14 preventable diseases. Currently, the Center for Disease Prevention and Control strongly urges parents to have their children immunized to avoid cases of measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio, among others (“Giving Multiple Vaccines to Children”). Many of these diseases were epidemics in centuries prior and caused countless deaths, simply because there was no injectable prevention. However, today, immunity is granted through simple vaccination treatment starting when babies are newborn. Unfortunately, in recent years, parents have become skeptical because of fears and rumors about SIDS, autism, among other infirmities, many of these parents have outright refused the shots for their children. In fact, a survey conducted revealed that a large percentage of pediatricians and family doctors have seen at least one parent who refused to have their child vaccinated in the previous year. Stuart H. Ditchek, MD, a clinical professor of pediatrics at New York University says that he spends a third of his day providing explanations about the safety of the children’s vaccines (VanTine-Reichardt).
These parents need to realize that these illnesses, despite what they may think, are still a threat to society. An article in a 2004 issue of Prevention magazine states that “without mass immunizations, children today can die of diseases that killed kids as recently as 20 years ago” (VanTine-Reichardt). According to the CDC, newborns may have some antibodies transferred from their mothers, but “most children do not have maternal immunity to diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, or Hib” (“Giving Multiple Vaccines to Children”). Many of these illnesses may seem outdated to parents of small children, but Paul Offit, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, says that “vaccines are victims of their own successes,” meaning most of...

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