Should you vaccinate your infant?
Vaccinations are a preventive method of disease control. They’re essentially a trial-run to prepare your body to fight specific diseases. While human body is truly amazing and works very hard to fight off infection, vaccines help this process by exposing the body to specific diseases in minuscule amounts.
When diseases are introduced in this way, the body produces antibodies to counteract and fight these specific disease antigens.
It takes a few days to create the necessary antibodies the first time a disease is introduced. The next time your body is exposed to the specific disease, it will be able to create antibodies much faster and prevent the disease from running rampant and causing damage. This is why vaccines are so powerful.
Vaccines are typically made of dead or weakened antigens so there is no risk of true infection when they are administered. However, the immune system still sees them as an enemy and produces the necessary antibodies in response.
Many people claim vaccinations cause long-term damage; research is still being conducted to determine whether or not this is true. It has been proven, however, that vaccines have eradicated serious, life-threatening illnesses. Polio and smallpox are no longer prevalent; there have been no documented cases of these diseases in years.
Other diseases such as measles, hepatitis, TB and other parasitic infections have been prevented in millions of people around the world due to vaccinations, and are well on their way to being eradicated.
Among the several vaccinations recommended by the Centre for Disease Control within the first years are vaccinations for hepatitis, polio, rubella, measles, mumps and other serious illnesses.
Scientists believe that if these vaccinations are administered early enough, to enough people, these diseases could also be eradicated and we will no longer risk contracting them. We will also effectively protect future generations from these illnesses and offer them a better quality of life.
Vaccinations do have a downside, where some experience side effects, including headaches, infections, pain, and nausea – symptoms typically associated with flu; and more serious side effects such as blood in the urine or stool, pneumonia, and inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Many of these symptoms can be relieved with medication and will not affect the effectiveness of the vaccine in the future.
There have been a number of claims of long-term damage caused by vaccines. Research is ongoing as vaccines have not been subject to long-term toxicity studies, and so we cannot conclude whether or not the ingredients are toxic.
Vaccinations have also not been studied in the combinations they are administered in, as infants are typically given a number of vaccinations simultaneously during their visits to the doctor. Many believe that there are vaccinations could be the root cause of certain injuries that affect adults and children. These injuries include brain swelling and permanent brain damage which causes seizures, convulsions, disorders and even death.
One of the disorders attributed to vaccinations is autism – a mental condition which causes difficulty in communication and relationships. Autism rates across the world have increased drastically as more and more vaccinations were introduced. 30 years ago, 1 in 150 children were diagnosed with autism. Today 1 in 59 children are identified with autism spectrum disorder; children from all walks of life are susceptible.
A study in 1998 appeared in The Lancet, in which the claim that measles-mumps-rubella vaccine caused autism in 12 children, stirring fear and controversy among parents and physicians and caused a ripple effect that remains years after the study was retracted.
The paper’s findings led other doctors to do their own research into the link between the MMR vaccine and autism with at least 12 follow-up studies being done. However, none found any evidence the vaccine caused autism.
According to WebMD; an investigation into the 1998 study also uncovered a number of problems with how it was conducted.
“If you understand the principle of how vaccines work then you would never argue against vaccinations,” Paediatrician, Dr. Shire Singh said.
“The fact that people think that vaccines are linked to autism was all based on a doctor’s results; he later had to retract those results as they were not true. The problem is people want to continue to quote that, but it was not a real study.”
“I have to strongly agree that vaccines are important,” says Dr. Singh, it “does not make any sense” to not vaccinate your child.
While most medical practitioners do recommend routine vaccinations at infant checkups, you do have the right to decide whether or not your child should be vaccinated. Choosing not to vaccinate will make your child susceptible to certain diseases in the future.
“For parents who choose not to vaccinate, you are putting your child at risk of hospitalisation and grave illness.”
“The risk is evident in the fact that there is such a new upsurge in cases of measles, where we thought we had measles under control and now we are seeing so many new cases of measles, because parents are not vaccinating their children.”
Singh says anti-vaccine campaigners are misinforming the public.
“It is very serious, because there are diseases the WHO had on a timetable for eradication; and these might not be able to be eradicated due to people not vaccinating their children.”
DR SHIRE SINGH, Specialist Pediatrician.
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