by Kimberly Reyes
As a parent, you want to make sure that your child is happy and healthy. However, with all the articles and posts circulating on the web now, you’re not sure which ones to believe, especially when it comes to matters related to vaccines.
So, here we are to answer your questions so that you can be fully informed about childhood vaccines:
Question 1: What’s the difference between vaccines and medicine?
Ah, I’m glad you asked. Vaccines are NOT medicine. They function differently from antibiotics. Vaccines are weakened/ inactivated virus or bacteria that we introduce to the body so that the child can naturally develop antibodies to boost his/her immune response. Vaccines make sure that your child’s body is ready to fight off those diseases.
Vaccines are for prevention, while antibiotics are for cure and treatment.
Question 2: Isn’t it better for my child to have the disease than give them vaccines?
The short answer is, no. Why let your child go through a full-blown disease when we can prevent them? Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as polio, measles, tuberculosis, and hepatitis, are life-threatening and can cause serious complications when contracted by a child. Complications such as paralysis from polio, encephalitis and blindness from measles, are just some of the health problems vaccines help prevent. Vaccines allow the child to build up his body against these diseases, without actually contracting them, bypassing the complications and hefty medical bills.
Question 3: But aren’t there side effects to vaccination?
Because your child’s body is fighting off the weakened/ inactivated cells, it is normal that he/ she experiences some mild symptoms, but not the complete disease with all its potential problems. After immunization, your child may have fever or mild rashes or soreness at the site of injection, depending on the vaccine that was just given him. But take note that this is the body’s natural response to the foreign cells, which shows that the vaccines are effective and that the body is doing its job. Once your child recovers from these symptoms, you can rest assured in the fact that your child’s immune system is a lot stronger than it was before.
Question 4: Is it true that vaccines cause Autism and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?
Autism and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) are still being studied by medical experts and they have yet to identify the cause of each. Some believe that vaccines are the reason, because diagnosis of these conditions coincide with the time that routine immunizations are given to the kids, but this is not backed by evidence-based research. A study published in 1998 mentioned that there may be a relationship between Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and Autism, but this was retracted because the study was discovered fake and flawed in its research. The bottom line is that there is NO evidence to the claim that vaccines cause Autism or SIDS.
Question 5: What is this I hear about my child being protected because everyone else around him is immune?
You are talking about what we call Herd Immunity. This happens when the majority of people in a community are immune to a particular disease, minimizing its spread. Groups such as infants, elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromised who cannot receive vaccines rely on this to be protected from contagious diseases. However, if everybody depends on this and refuses to be vaccinated, this type of immunity will become ineffective, and everyone will be once again at risk. Diseases that we have once eradicated from our community will once again find its way back, and treatment will be even more difficult. This is very relevant to us now, given the recent Measles, Polio, and Diphtheria outbreaks in our country.
Question 6: All right; I’m convinced. What vaccines does my child need and when do they need it?
Great! Vaccines are administered from birth until 18 years of age, with a specific number of doses and interval. Don’t worry if your child has missed a dose, it’s never too late to vaccinate!
You can find the routine immunization schedule below, but for a more comprehensive table you can check the table on this website:
*BCG – Bacillus Calmette-Guerin for Tuberculosis
*DTP – Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus
*IPV – Inactivated Polio Vaccine/ OPV – Oral Polio Vaccine
*Hep B – Hepatitis B
*MMR – Measles-Mumps-Rubella
*Varicella – Commonly known as chicken pox
It’s okay if you don’t have this vaccine thing all figured out; you can always ask your child’s pediatrician or read articles from reliable sources to stay informed.
Let’s continue to take steps towards keeping our kids and others healthy!
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