5 Tips To Childhood Immunizations & Vaccine Myths
I can remember a time when my Grandmother was taking us to the doctor. Grandmother, “Why do I need shots,” I asked? My Grandmother smiled and replied, “Great question, it is to protect you against a bug that might harm your body.” My Grandmother was from the south, very direct, and transparent. She believed in the importance of education, values, and safety. When I think about Childhood Vaccinations, I think of my Grandmother’s words, attitudes, and values.
Childhood vaccination is a “Hot Topic” in my community. Most recently there was an outbreak of measles in our community here in pierce county, WA. Three children in our town were very sick, high-fevers, hospitalization. An alert went out that we should wear masks, wash our hands, and make sure all vaccinations were up to date. This deadly disease was considered an epidemic.
The hard part wasn’t so much the spots or the hospitalization. It was this diseases determination to win by taking over the body. I asked my doctor, “What does that mean? He explained, “It means the job of these diseases is to kill its victim”.
My records and the records of my children showed that we were current on our vaccinations. My family was safe. But it got me thinking; just how many people in my community were not!
I am currently, a preschool teacher, family therapist, and in Grad school for my MFT. Families surround me. In our education system, there are requirements for immunizations to attend school. However, some of the families in our school system have siblings’ that are not candidates for vaccination due to allergies and autoimmune disorders. How will this outbreak affect them? How can my community be more informed, educated, and safe?
Currently, there are 1,215 cases of measles in the USA. The increase is alarming. Children are suffering from the painful effects of the disease, hospitalization, lifelong illnesses, brain damage and death (CDC, 2019; Gates, 2019; Haelle, 2016; McKeever et al., 2016; Thorpe et al., 2016; WSDOH, 2019). Given that a virus infects approximately 90% of unvaccinated children who encounter it, concerns are raised when an infection epidemic occurs (CDC, 2019; Gates, 2019; McKeever et al., 2016; Thompson et al., 2016; WSDOH, 2019).
1-WHAT ARE THE STRENGTHS OF CHILDHOOD VACCINATIONS & MYTHS?
• Vaccination: Vaccination is the most effective prevention of diseases worldwide.
• Herd immunity: Research shows that if the majority of the population is immunized, the disease is less likely to spread and possibly be eliminated
• Protection of diseases: Protection from these types of diseases are only possible through immunization. There is not a way to build up immunity without immunizing your child.
• Prevention: Vaccines are the antidotes. Once the disease is contracted, there is not an antidote. You are helpless to the effects of the disease.
2-WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS OF CHILDHOOD VACCINATIONS & MYTHS?
• Autism Fears: Vaccines do not cause autism; there is no correlation of any ingredients in vaccine and autism.
• Vaccine ingredients: The ingredient Thimerosal has been removed from vaccines & Vaccines are not live viruses
• Building up immunity: Vaccines are the antidote and only way for building resistance and protection of the disease.
• Pain or allergic reaction: The pain involved in the shot and light symptoms are mild and less than the disease. The disease is painful, causes lifelong illnesses, brain damage, and death.
3-HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO BE CURRENT AND UPDATED WITH VACCINATIONS?
• Checking with your pediatrician: local state healthcare, and the CDC: Getting the critical time frames for your child’s immunizations is very important. Go to reliable sources for all lead times for vaccinations.
• No delaying vaccinations: Unfortunately, delaying or hesitancy is the same as not vaccinating your child. It means your child, and the community you live in is not safe.
• No partial vaccination: unfortunately, partial vaccination is incomplete immunization, and your child is not protected. Doses are given to each child based on weight, age, and determinate of the disease.
• Vaccines must be entirely up to date: It is an all-in and fully immunized situation or your child or an adult can be susceptible to the full extent of the disease. It will do the opposite of building immunity.
4- WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE CHOOSING TO PASS ON VACCINES?
• Uniformed or informed by social media: Be careful when searching on the Internet for your family’s health and safety decisions. Being emotionally swayed by friends or fear can have a deadly effect on your family’s health and wellness. Make sure that the blogs and site you go to have significant resources. Many people search the Internet by motivated by fear. And social media, without resources, provide false misconceptions that go viral.
• Risk-benefit fallacy: Not understanding the risk of vaccines and weighing the decision on fears and emotions rather than education and being able to make an informed decision.
• Phobia to shots: There are many people who do not realize that the pain from the shot or light effects of the vaccine is less than the reality of the disease.
• Religious beliefs: There are some religions that are against the use of vaccines. They do not like the ingredients in the vaccines. Vaccines are made of none live viruses. There can be allergies in some children. This is a very low ratio. Every year ingredients are being designed to meet the needs of these populations. This area is a challenge and has respect. Death is a natural case of diseases.
5- WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP EASE THE STRESS OF GETTING SHOTS?
• Become more informed: Checking with your healthcare provider, your states health awareness, and the CDC for vaccines and the timeliness of all boosters are key.
• Internet resources: When evaluating sites and information about vaccines, make sure that the website has resources on current data. My blog post has resources for the information I have provided.
• Be part of your community. Go to events in your community that provide education. Get your education from your healthcare provider. Create relationships that you trust within your healthcare systems. Trust is an important part.
• Comfort your child: Provide your child with comfort, love, and transparency. My grandmother was a great resource and support. She gave me an answer she thought I would understand as a child of age 4. She spoke to me in my language and age development.