Vaccinations - Still Vital to Your Childs Health
Unvaccinated children are six times as likely to get whooping cough and 20 times more likely to get measles than their immunized peers.
With statistics like these to illustrate the health benefits of vaccines, it seems logical that all parents would want to see their children properly immunized to protect them from disease.
But some parents consciously choose to not have their children vaccinated because they fear the vaccine will make their child sick, or because they think that vaccines are no longer necessary because certain preventable diseases are becoming extinct.
Thomas Saari, MD, a UW Health pediatrician and chairman of the Wisconsin Council for Immunization Practices, wants to remind parents that vaccines are still a vital part of preventing disease and keeping children healthy.
"It's easier, cheaper and more effective to prevent a disease early than to treat it later," Dr. Saari says.
Disease Risk Far Outweighs Rumored Vaccine Risk
According to Dr. Saari, modern vaccines are safe and are constantly being scrutinized to make them even safer. National databases are used to identify and investigate possible rare adverse side effects. Continued research on vaccines has failed to show any association with rumored health issues. On the contrary, the risk of disease far outweighs any risk from vaccines.
Dr. Saari says some parents dismiss immunization because of a false belief that these preventable diseases are also extinct diseases. A parent might think that since all of their child's peers are immunized to prevent the spread of these diseases, why subject the child to a shot? Exposure to preventable disease remains a constant threat, however.
International travel brings diseases into Wisconsin and our neighborhoods literally overnight from parts of the world where vaccination is not available. In addition, unvaccinated children contribute to the spread of disease to others at home, schools and daycares where children have not been vaccinated.
"By not immunizing their child, a parent is making a conscious effort to accept the risk of preventable disease," says Dr. Saari. "Yet that same parent would never fail to use seat belts or keep poisons out of the reach of children."