Whether you’re a parent, a college student, or even just a member of a community, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard a lot of talk about vaccines. The vaccine debate is endless, and more and more parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children based on religious reasons, convictions that vaccines don’t work, or fear that vaccines contain harmful toxins and can even cause autism. But the truth is, if children aren’t vaccinated they become a public health concern, and can suffer from diseases or die. Due to the severity of these threats, the way in which the vaccine question is presented to parents has become incredibly important, as has the truth about vaccinations.
The Role of the Doctor
It’s not a shock that when parents are told by their doctor to vaccinate their children, rather than given an open-ended option, they’re more likely to do so. So much more likely, in fact, that an article published by the LA Times put the pressure on doctors nationwide, urging them to use phrasing such as “It’s time for Bobby to have his shots,” rather than “What do you want to do about Bobby’s shots?” If doctors become more authoritative when talking to parents about children’s vaccines, it’s more likely that the risk for community epidemics will decrease as a result of more children being vaccinated. The article goes so far as to conclude that in the case of public safety, vaccinations should never be presented as a choice.
Concerns about Vaccinations
If doctors are supposed to be pushing vaccines on parents, there must be some benefit to vaccinations, right? Right. Despite fears that vaccines contain toxins, don’t work, and cause autism, vaccinations are safe and necessary. The US Centers for Disease Control has published studies conducted by the Institute of Medicine that have determined that vaccinations have no relationship whatsoever with autism in children. Furthermore, before vaccines are even licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for dispense to the general public, they are tested thoroughly both in laboratory tests and with real human subjects. The process is so extensive that it can take up to ten years. Additionally, once a vaccine is licensed, it is continually monitored and reviewed for the duration of time that it is in use. Vaccines that are currently in use in the United States have all been extensively reviewed and determined to be safe, free of harmful toxins, unrelated to any other disease-causing effects, and effective enough to reduce the spread of infectious diseases that result in severe symptoms or even death.
If you’re still concerned about vaccinations and aren’t convinced of their safety, there are many resources you can turn to, such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Institute of Medicine, and the US Food and Drug Administration. When searching for information, be careful to avoid Internet gossip or hearsay, and focus instead on reputable sites or educational institutions. And if you’re a health care provider, remember that when talking to patients, using a firm and assertive tone when discussing vaccines is much more effective than leaving the vaccine question open-ended.
Article written by Laura Green. With many years in the medical field, Laura stresses the importance of vaccines and recommends Houston Vaccines, a trusted immunization provider if you don’t already have a primary doctor.