Vaccines have been controversial lately, with the ongoing Dengvaxia controversy still lingering in the minds of the public. People have different opinions, but concerned parents have to make an important choice. “Should I have my child vaccinated? Are vaccines safe?”
It's important to base our decisions on solid, scientific facts. Here are some vaccine myths and facts that can help save a child’s life.
Myth 1: Vaccines Can Make Kids Sick
Many believe that vaccines contain harmful chemicals or active viruses thus can make your kid sick rather than prevent or fight a disease.
Take the case of the flu shot which contains a trace amount of formaldehyde. Some parents may hear that word and think, “That’s what they use to embalm the dead!”
However, formaldehyde isn’t as scary as it sounds. It's a simple chemical compound made of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Actually, formaldehyde is naturally produced by our bodies. “All life forms – bacteria, plants, fish, animals, and humans – naturally produce formaldehyde as part of cell metabolism," says Chemical Safety Facts.
As for vaccines contain inactive viruses, that’s the way vaccines work. “Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. This type of infection, however, almost never causes illness, but it does cause the immune system to produce T-lymphocytes and antibodies. Sometimes, after getting a vaccine, the imitation infection can cause minor symptoms, such as fever. Such minor symptoms are normal and should be expected as the body builds immunity,” says the Center of Disease Control.
You may experience flu-like symptoms like fever or muscle pain, but that’s part of your normal immune response. However, once that infection goes away, your body is able to remember how to fight the disease.
Myth 2: Vaccines May Lead to Autism
This has been debunked by several studies, and several credible organizations including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have issued statements about it. The CDC even conducted 9 intensive studies and said: “No links have been found between any vaccine ingredients and Autism Spectrum Disorder.’
Myth 3: Infants and Toddlers Do Not Need Vaccinations
Some people say that diseases are just part of childhood. However, even a simple cough can turn into pneumonia, which is the leading cause of death in children. Some vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio can also have serious, lifelong complications. Delaying routine shots or totally passing up can put your children in grave danger.
Myth 4: Natural Immunity is Best
It’s true that you need to boost your immune system, and the things we do everyday – making sure our child gets enough nutrition and sleep, providing natural and organic food, teaching hygiene habits like washing hands, and more – do make a huge difference in our child’s health. However, there are certain infections that can cause serious harm and death, and in that case, natural immunity and vaccines must work together to provide complete protection.
Myth 5: Breastfeeding is Enough to Protect a Child
Breastmilk does provide some antibodies, but it’s not enough to replace vaccinations. According to Vaccines Today, we can only pass on antibodies for diseases or vaccines we’ve already had. However, some antibodies (like the one for whooping cough) can’t be transferable. Also, maternal antibodies are quickly degraded, so our baby loses the immune protection after we stop breastfeeding.
While the Dengvaxia scare is no joke, we shouldn’t give up on all vaccines. We need to understand what vaccines do, and not be easily swayed by inaccurate information. Read up more about immunizations to further your knowledge. For concerns, talk to your pediatrician, family doctor or health care provider. Remember, the key to overall wellness is a healthy immune system.
About The Writer
Mom to a 20-year old special boy and a very sweet and kind 12-year old boy who mean the world to her. Wife to a very supportive hotelier, who never doubted she can survive any trial hurled her way. An advocate of several special needs groups. Works online as a virtual assistant, social media manager, and a mommy blogger. Trying to help change the world in her own small ways.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.