Some Common Myths About Vaccines For Babies.

It's currently National Infant Immunization Week 2010 and we've been looking at vaccine issues here at P&B. In the last...
It's currently National Infant Immunization Week 2010 and we've been looking at vaccine issues here at P&B. In the last post we looked at how to weigh the risks of vaccines. Today we'll look at some common myths surrounding baby vaccines. MYTH - Because the risk for many diseases is now lower you don't need to vaccinate. Mainly parents think this because vaccines have been very successful at preventing disease in the United States. What's true is that vaccine-preventable diseases are at an all-time low in the United States. However, these diseases still exist and if you don't immunize your baby he is at risk for contracting a preventable disease. MYTH - Immunizations cause autism. Just this year the Federal Court noted that they no longer believe that vaccines are linked to autism. In fact last year the news broke that all the drama related to vaccines vs. autism has been based on one bunk study - a study that has been withdrawn from the scientific community. MYTH - Vaccines cause many deaths. The truth is that children may experience common side effects to vaccines fairly often, serious adverse side-effects very rarely and death caused by vaccines almost never. According to major health organizations such as WHO and the CDC along with multiple studies, most vaccine adverse events are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever and so few deaths can plausibly be attributed to vaccines that it is hard to assess the risk statistically. The Institute of Medicine has studied vaccines continually for years and note that the risk of death from vaccines is "extraordinarily low." MYTH - You should wait until kids are older to vaccinate them because it's safer. In truth, babies are more at risk for developing diseases that vaccines can prevent due to their small immune systems. Consider the following facts from the book Vaccines: What You Should Know...
  • Pertussis infects about 8,000 children, causing five to ten deaths every year in the United States. Almost all of the cases are in children less than one year of age.
  • •Children under two years old are 500 times more likely to catch Hib meningitis if someone with a Hib infection is living in the home.
  • •About 90 percent of newborns whose mothers are infected with hepatitis B will contract hepatitis and go on to develop chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and possibly liver cancer.
For these reasons above (and more), it is very important for infants to be fully immunized when they are young vs. waiting until they are older. MYTH - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is caused by vaccines. Currently there's no conclusive data linking SIDS and vaccines. Parents are right to be concerned, but the main reason that SIDS has been linked at all to vaccines is simply because SIDS and vaccines line up age wise. For example 2 to 4 months of age is when babies begin their primary course of vaccinations and that's also the peak age for SIDS. It doesn't mean the two are related though.

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