|A young girl being vaccinated for typhoid in 1944.|
|Giving an oral polio vaccine|
|A smallpox vaccination kit, including the famous forked needle. The smallpox vaccine is derived from the far milder virus that shares many of the same characteristics: cowpox.|
One of the common trends in modern society has been to not vaccinate, mainly due to the assumption that vaccinations have lead to complications, up to and including autism. It is true that some vaccinations carry certain risks, such as some of the potential problems associated with the vaccine for chicken pox (Vericella). Minor symptoms such as redness, swelling, soreness, itching, mild to moderate fever, and others can and will occur rather commonly. However, vaccines are overall incredible safe with serious reactions only happening at frequencies of one in every one hundred thousand (that's 100,000) people or even rarer. For most vaccinations, incidence of severe reactions are one in a million or rarer. To put that in perspective, there are over three hundred million (300,000,000) people in the United States. Of those, only about three thousand (3,000) will have a severe side affect to a vaccine where severe reactions happen once in ever hundred thousand people vaccinated. That's really very good odds, considering the alternative of placing your child at risk of contracting diseases that may potentially kill them, such as whooping cough (Pertussis).
When compared to the risk of severe reaction of a vaccine, the risk of very serious disease or complications are much higher. For example, rubella (also known as German measles) causes dangerous brain infection in one out of every six thousand adults infected, and pregnant women who develop the disease will often loose their baby, or have it be born with serious birth defects. In contrast, severe reactions to the MMR vaccine only occur at most in four of every one million people vaccinated.
|An autism sign: obsessiveness|
So, let's look at these facts again: vaccinations prevent children and adults from contracting very serious illnesses. Severe reactions to the vaccines are rare, and these rates are better than the risks of the disease that is being vaccinated against. If you think about it, it really is a much better idea to vaccinate than to go without. If you refuse, you kid could get polio, hepatitis, or so many other serious diseases if they come in contact with an infected person and then you'll be regretting the decision for the rest of your life.
Main source is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Vaccines and Immunizations portal. Other sources are the New York Times, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Brian Deer, Exceptional Learners: An Introduction to Special Education, and Vaccinate your Baby. Images are from Wikimedia Commons and are under a Creative Commons license or are copyright free: one, two, three, four.