Today we are looking at The Pros and Cons of Vaccinations.
Vaccinations incite a fair bit of worry for parents, so can they be trusted? To discover the pros and cons of vaccinations, and whether they’re safe for your children, read on…
Ever since vaccinations were introduced in 1796, there has been quite a huge debate surrounding their safety. Many parents question whether they’ll cause a disability, allergic reaction, or other serious side effects in their child. The main question is whether they’re more harmful than good.
The Pros and Cons of Vaccinations
Here, we’ll be answering this question, and helping you balance out the risk versus the reward of getting your jabs. It’s certainly not a decision that any parent takes lightly. So, to see the cons and pros weighed out in front of you, and what our medical professionals suggest, you came to the right place…
What is a Vaccination?
Although our bodies are pretty good at naturally combatting diseases and infection, this isn’t always the case. Some diseases can overwhelm our immune system, meaning they can’t do it alone. This is where vaccinations come in.
The pathogens that are most likely to cause us serious harm are the ones our body has not faced before. Through administering vaccines, which familiarise our body with these deadly diseases, our body is better prepared for the eventuality of facing them later down the line. But how does this work?
How do Vaccinations Work?
Vaccines are made up of safe versions of certain diseases. This is done through administering one of four different types of vaccination, including:
- A dead form of the disease;
- A weakened version of the disease;
- A toxoid, which protects you from the toxins created by the pathogen;
- Or a subunit, like a protein or sugar, from the disease.
By exposing the body to these harmful pathogens in a non-harmful way, vaccinations teach the body to recognise a disease when you’re exposed to it later. This allows your body to respond faster and more effectively to a potentially harmful illness.
There’s plenty of information online for the types of vaccinations your kids should be getting before they turn a certain age. So, if you want some more insight into the vaccination schedule you should be adhering to, doing your research is paramount.
Cons of Vaccinations
Vaccinations have proven pretty controversial over the decades, and this is based on the perceived risks of them. Naturally, some people are sceptical of the effectiveness of vaccines, and whether the potentially life-threatening risks are worth it. Some of these risks and downfalls include:
- Contain immoral ingredients: for some people, vaccinations don’t completely adhere to their moral compass. This is because many vaccines contain animal products, like chicken eggs and gelatin. So, for vegans and vegetarians, or anyone looking to live a more sustainable lifestyle, vaccines don’t conform to these beliefs and lifestyle choices.
- They’re not 100 percent effective: most vaccinations are effective to around 90 to 99 percent, which means that you may still get sick from a disease, even after having the correct vaccine.
- Not everyone can have a vaccination: due to the components within vaccines, namely dead bacteria, anyone with a weakened immune system is not advised to have a jab.
- Don’t adhere to certain religions: due to the unnatural and preventative nature of vaccines, they aren’t always agreed upon under certain religions.
- Allergic reactions: every vaccination is made up of different components which you or your child might be allergic to. You most likely won’t know about this allergy until the vaccination has been administered, and this can occur in around every one in a million cases.
- Fatal side effects: there is a chance that a vaccination will cause severe, and sometimes fatal, side effects (list below).
Potentially Harmful Side Effects of Vaccinations
As listed in our list of cons above, one of the most argued cons for vaccinations is that they can cause serious, and sometimes fatal, side effects. This means that many parents are wary of administering vaccinations to their children, as toddler and baby vaccinations side effects can be worrying. Some of these potential side effects may include:
- Joint pain
- Sickness and fever
- Muscle weakness
- Difficult sleeping
- Memory loss
- Muscle paralysis
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
On the positive end of all this, vaccines are always administered in a safe environment, surrounded by healthcare professionals. So, if any of the above side effects occur, the proper treatment can be administered as soon as possible. Because of this, it’s unlikely that any severe side effects will result from a vaccination.
The Argument Against Vaccinations
Naturally, because of these potentially life alerting and fatal side effects, many people are frightened about administering them to their children. To add to this, there are some opinions and rumours about vaccinations which exacerbate these fears. These ideas include:
- Potentially harmful ingredients: vaccines are said to contain harmful or toxic ingredients, like mercury, which may poison you or cause autism.
- Unnatural: many people believe that natural immunity is more effective than chemical immunity from vaccines.
- Untrustworthy: many people feel that those who administer vaccinations, namely the FDA, are untrustworthy. This has fuelled a number of conspiracy theories about vaccinations, which cause fear amongst citizens.
- Unnecessary: some people believe vaccinations to be unnecessary if the disease is no longer prevalent in their country. Also, if the potential side effects of the illness aren’t very harmful, this also makes vaccinations seem a little pointless for some people.
Busting the Myths: Are Vaccinations Safe for Children?
It’s important to note that the above side effects occur in rare cases. What’s more, a lot of the ideas surrounding the fatal side effects of vaccinations are unfounded. For example, there’s no sound evidence to prove that vaccines cause autism, despite the fact that this is one of the most common worries parents may have.
Alternatively, there is a lot of evidence to show that vaccinations prevent serious disease and death. They’re also rigorously researched and tested before they make it into the public domain, and any side effects that do occur are usually mild. Any cases where these effects are more severe are incredibly rare.
Ultimately, medical bodies, like the NHS, dispute many negative claims against vaccinations, including:
- They do not cause autism;
- They do not weaken the immune system;
- They do not cause allergies to develop;
- And they do not contain any harmful ingredients, like mercury.
This means that a vaccination for kids and a vaccination for babies is by no means a health risk. It’s all about risk versus reward…
Risk versus reward is all about weighing up the pros and cons of any situation, and making a decision based on which side is better overall. The case is exactly the same with vaccinations; the chances of experiencing the potential cons of vaccines are very low in comparison to the risk associated with not getting them.
In fact, it’s proven that getting sick from a disease that is usually vaccinated against will likely be more fatal than the vaccine itself. Because of this, and despite the controversy facing the world of vaccinations, medical advice states that getting your vaccinations is really important.
Pros of Vaccinations
The importance of vaccinations cannot be overstated. According to studies, around 50,000 US citizens die from vaccine-preventable diseases every year. This is because around 50 percent of Americans still avoid vaccinations, due to perceived risks or lack of knowledge.
From this, it’s pretty clear that the risks of not getting vaccinated very much outweigh the risks associated with vaccines. To further encourage an informed decision on whether you vaccinate your kids or not, these are some of the pros of vaccinations:
- Reducing the risk of you or your children from contracting potentially deadly diseases, including cancer, influenza, HPV, hepatitis B, and more;
- Protecting those within your community who cannot have vaccines due to a weakened immune system;
- They are thoroughly researched and tested before administered;
- They are usually free under the NHS;
- Overwhelming research surrounding vaccines shows that they are safe in the majority of cases;
- They are convenient, and take minimal time to administer;
- They are one of the safest preventative measures out there to ensure herd immunity;
- Evidence points to the fact that vaccines are one of the safest medical procedures out there, as the amounts of ingredients used are not harmful in these small doses;
- Although some vaccines contain the killed virus, these vaccinations won’t give you the disease, as some people may assume;
- They prevent against incurring further medical costs from catching preventable diseases;
- They also prevent against you missing valuable days of work, as some vaccine-preventable diseases can last up to a few weeks of illness;
- Adverse reactions and side effects are extremely rare, again demonstrating that the rewards outweigh the risks;
- They protect future generations, as vaccinated mothers can actually protect unborn children from certain diseases, which may cause birth defects;
- Economic benefits, due to preventing disabilities which may cost the country trillions of dollars each year;
- They are administered in a safe and professional environment;
- Vaccines have actually eradicated certain diseases, like smallpox and polio.
Think You Want to Vaccinate Your Kids?
Clearly, despite the few potentially dangerous side effects of vaccinations, and the myths and worries surrounding them, we can’t deny the hugely positive effects they have. Vaccinations are hugely important to prevent us, our children, and those in our community from getting sick from really harmful diseases. So, with all this in mind, do you think you’ll be making sure your children get their jabs?
Let us know, in the comments below, what your thoughts, feelings, and worries are about the pros and cons of vaccinations. Let’s get a discussion going, so we can make the best choices for our children, and future generations.
The Pros and Cons of Vaccinations is a feature post