I am having concerns with pre-school vaccination, should I be?
I am concerned about getting my pre-schooler vaccinated. There are so many shots and you hear about the side-effects of many of them. Why should I subject my child to them?
Katrena Lacey | Pediatrician
Each parent has a different understanding and reaction when faced with the choice whether to vaccinate their child or not. It is a new and sometimes overwhelming experience to make healthcare choices for your child.
As parents, we all want to make the best choice for our children. Most of the fear surrounding vaccinations comes from misconceptions regarding the safety and necessity of recommended childhood vaccinations.
My best advice for any parent facing this choice is to educate yourself about the vaccines. Much of the information we are faced with in the media is incorrect or biased and, as parents, it is our responsibility to find reliable and accurate resources.
Your first and best resource is your pediatrician or family physician. Your doctor knows you and your family best and can make the best recommendations for your child.
Most pediatricians follow guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control. These guidelines are published yearly and are constantly being evaluated and reevaluated to ensure safe and adequate protection for your child. These guidelines are also endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as other professional medical societies. Pediatricians should be able to go through each vaccine that is recommended and explain what illness it is designed to prevent, potential side effects, and answer any questions that a parent may have regarding the vaccine.
It is important to realize that the reason vaccinations were designed and developed were to prevent serious and sometimes deadly illnesses such as polio and meningitis. Over the past decades, we have seen serious pediatric illnesses such as meningitis become less and less prevalent. Of course, no vaccine is guaranteed to prevent 100% of illness but by vaccinating your child you are decreasing their chance of serious illness significantly.
Ultimately, the choice to vaccinate your child is your own choice. Feel free to educate yourself and then speak openly with your doctor regarding your wishes and concerns.
Here are some helpful Websites with more information about vaccinating your child:
- National Network for Immunication Information
- American Acadmemy of Pediatrics
- AAP Childhood Immunization Support Program
- ParentSavvy's Immunization section also has information on the Myths and Facts about Immunizations, as well as some of the common vaccines your child may have.