Vaccines are critical to public safety and personal health. Recently, prominent public figures and social media have cast doubt upon their importance, efficacy, and safety.
Much of the debate stems from a flawed study published by British doctor Andrew Wakefield. The study linked vaccinations to autism, but it has since been debunked by numerous other studies, medical and scientific professionals, and retracted by the medical journal that published it.
Vaccines are considered beneficial for two primary reasons:
- They protect you and your child from diseases that could lead to serious complications, including death.
- They prevent you and your child from spreading that disease to someone who is unable to be or not yet vaccinated (infants, those with compromised immune systems).
The result of population vaccination is the suppression of diseases that, decades ago, affected hundreds or thousands of Americans every year. These include measles, rubella, and polio.
When parents decide not to vaccinate their children, however, diseases can reappear. In the past decade, an increasing number of outbreaks of whooping cough and measles have occurred in the United States.
If an infant is not yet vaccinated for whooping cough, but everyone around them is immunized, the infant is less likely to contract the disease.
It’s also important to note that booster vaccines are necessary. If you have any questions about vaccination, talk to your doctor. We can help clear up any misconceptions to help you and your child feel comfortable about getting the required vaccinations and boosters at the appropriate time.