Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are there any risks in having my child vaccinated?"
I've read all of this different stuff in magazines and heard things on the news about how you shouldn't vaccinate your child. My son is 7 and has had some shots already. Should I stop taking him for shots? What happens if I don't take him?
To get right down to it, there are only a select few circumstances under which you should not vaccinate your child. When one follows an established vaccination protocol, the risks are minimal. Generally, it is not a good idea to give too many all at once just because it can make a child feel more sick than normal afterwards, which is why pediatricians stick to a schedule. Also, live vaccines are not given to individuals who have a dysfunctional immune system. Television, newspapers, word-of-mouth anecdotes, etc. are popular sources for information and often they are good, but the source we as professionals go to is the medical literature. These are clinical trials and studies of populations of thousands of people who have received shots. These studies are conducted not just by pharmaceutical companies whom some may feel are biased, but also by public health workers, scientists, doctors, government watchdog institutions, etc. and they have consistently shown that serious complications are extremely rare, and permanent ones nearly non-existent. It has debunked the suspected relationship between autism and vaccines. The bottom line is that vaccines do far more good than harm, not just for the individual but for everyone around them as well. You should talk to your pediatrician next time you take your child to him. They often receive such questions and can provide specific information for you. PubMed is also a good source of medical literature should you want to investigate further on your own. But again, I would strongly recommend you discuss your concerns with your pediatrician who will be able to explain the evidence to you in an easily digestible manner.
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