Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What vaccines can be harmful to children?"
I know this is a subject of serious controversy, but it seems impossible to get an objective answer: are vaccines potentially harmful or are they not? What about the supposed autism risk I've read about? Is there any truth, or is this just a conspiracy theory?
You are very correct that there is an enormous amount of confusing information out there regarding vaccines. This unfortunately has resulted in an unacceptable amount of child risk associated with infectious disease. Let me explain. There is no controversy in the medical field about the association of vaccines and autism. The absolute consensus is that there is NO evidence that vaccines (especially the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine) are associated with autism. The one scientific paper that suggested this association back in the 1990s as since been retracted by its own authors. Nevertheless, the media, celebrities, and other non-medical groups have taken this false association and ran with it such that hundreds of thousands of children are unnecessarily placed at risk for life threatening infections. There are some real risks associated with vaccination such as an allergic reaction, or rare neurological diseases such as Guillian Barre Syndrome (rarely associated with flu vaccine). If you child were to develop one of these reactions to the vaccine, then he or she should not receive anymore. I suggest you ask your pediatrician for additional information about the real risks of vaccines. I think once you review their risks and weigh them against their benefits, you will be convinced that the benefits are much more prominent than the risks. Thanks so much for your question.
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