20+ Facts About Vaccinations All Responsible Parents Should Know About
The topic of immunization tends to raise many debates, especially as it relates to children. On one hand, vaccines are the most effective and safe way to stay protected from various diseases. On the other hand, parents are worried because of the side effects and many prejudices that have appeared due to the fear and distrust of traditional medicine.
We at Bright Side have carefully studied various forums, compiled the most frequently asked questions and fears that parents have, and prepared answers to these questions based on the opinions of doctors and scientific research.
Each country has its own immunization calendar. For example, there are 15 recommended vaccinations in the USA, while Great Britain has 12 of them. In Germany, vaccination is the personal responsibility of each parent. In Italy, you can get a €7,500 fine for refusing immunization. In China, you can even be put in jail for it.
The immunization schedule for kids in 2019 in the USA
You can find the full version of the calendar here.
- Hepatitis B is one of the most widespread infectious diseases in the world (despite the fact that it is transmitted through blood or sexually). That’s why kids in almost all countries in the world are vaccinated from the first months of their life.
- The vaccination against tuberculosis is excluded from the requirements in the United States, Great Britain, and Germany because there is a low chance of catching the disease in these countries.
- DTaP (a combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, & acellular pertussis) causes complications the most often which is why many parents are scared of it, especially if a child’s immune system is weak. There are better vaccine combos that have a milder effect, and they are available from certain medical facilities at a higher cost.
- Measles was considered an almost defeated disease that could go down in history, as had once happened with smallpox, which had taken millions of lives. But nowadays the problem is real again due to anti-vaccination propaganda. The thing is that measles susceptibility is almost 100%, the disease is widely spreading and can lead to death.
Measles: Death statistics in the USA by year
- There are a range of vaccines that should only be done under epidemic indications, like encephalitis. Before getting them, it’s necessary to consult a doctor and take into account all the individual characteristics and diseases. For example, if you are planning a trip to the mountains, then it’s highly recommended to get an encephalitis vaccine.
- If you often travel abroad with your kid, it’s necessary to get additional vaccines for diseases that are often found in the territory of the countries you are traveling to.
- Scientists have proven that multi-component vaccines generally put less stress on the immune system than single-component vaccines. Any vaccine, just like any infectious disease, leads to the activation of the immune system. The more often it mobilizes, the higher the risk is of adverse reactions.
- Despite the fact that the amount of recommended vaccines has increased, modern vaccines contain less protein and polysaccharide pathogens than 40 years ago. That’s why they are more easily tolerated and cause fewer complications.
- Many parents don’t vaccinate their kids in infancy, instead deciding to wait until the kid’s body gets stronger. Some start immunizations when their child turns one, others wait until the age of 2, some even wait until their children are school aged. However, this tactic is wrong. The risk of unpredictable reactions to immunization increases with age. This regularity has been proven by thorough research and statistics.
- Any vaccine can cause natural reactions like pain, swelling, or itching at the spot where the injection was made, as well as a slight increase in body temperature. Some vaccines can even cause a loss of appetite and a headache. This is a normal bodily reaction that disappears after a short time.
- Parents should remember that the advantages of immunization are more important than a temporary and mild malaise. Complications happen much more seldom than natural reactions and they are carefully tracked and researched. For example, hives and muscle aches are a complication that might appear after getting the hepatitis B vaccine, but it happens only once in every 600,000 vaccination procedures. You can find all the severe cases on the PubMed site if you request vaccination case reports.
- It is believed that a breastfed baby is protected from the most dangerous illnesses by the immunoglobulins that are contained in their mother’s milk. Moreover, breast milk contains antibodies to those infections that the mother has had. This is true, but this protection is only effective in the first months of life. With time, the mother’s immunoglobulins get processed and removed from the body. They should be replaced by antibodies that a baby’s body produces. That’s when immunization helps a baby overcome a disease in its weakest form and create their own protection against it.
- Many vaccines include Thiomersal — ethyl mercury — as a preservative. It’s important to be able to distinguish ethyl mercury and methyl mercury. Methyl mercury accumulates in the body and stays in the blood for quite a long time — up to 1.5 months. While ethyl mercury (Merthiolate) is used as a preservative and gets completely removed from the body in less than a week. By the way, methyl mercury is found in tuna fish.
- Immunization doesn’t provide a 100% protection from infections. Yes, some vaccines like the ones against poliomyelitis and measles give you almost 100% protection, but others like the ones against acellular pertussis are made to make an illness pass in a less severe way and without complications.
- Modern vaccines are divided into 2 big groups — live vaccines and inactivated vaccines. Live vaccines produce immune protection in 100% of cases, which means their efficiency is the highest. However, to get the desired result, the body will have to go through a light form of the infection. Inactivated vaccines contain parts of DNA and other fragments of bacteria and viruses that a body needs to get trained to fight against. After this type of vaccination, the illness doesn’t develop even in the mildest form. These types of vaccines include hepatitis B, influenza, tetanus, and diphtheria.
- Inactivated vaccines can have a higher and lower level of purification. The higher the level of purification is, the fewer fragments of infectious agent a vaccine has. On one hand, it makes it easier for the body to tolerate the vaccine. On the other hand, it makes the immune resistance less strong — it often lets the infection get inside the body. However, the disease will manifest in a milder form and the risk of getting complications is much lower. Light and purified inactivated vaccines are usually used for kids who have a vaccine allergy.
- Experts recommend not introducing new products into the diet 5 days before and after the vaccination in order to prevent the appearance of an allergic reaction. Having consulted a doctor beforehand, you can also give your kid an antihistamine or antipyretic agent to facilitate the vaccination reaction.
- According to scientific research and taking into account the immunization schedules of many countries, the interval between getting various vaccines should be no less than one (or sometimes even 3) months.
- After getting the first vaccine, the protective properties develop slowly and the body only remembers them for several months. When getting the second vaccine against the same disease, the protective properties develop faster and the body remembers them for several years. That’s why it’s necessary to get several vaccines in order to create a stronger defense. In order to sustain the immune system’s strength, it’s necessary to get revaccinated. The vaccine against tetanus is a champion — it protects against the disease for more than 20 years. The immunity to hepatitis B remains for about 10 years. This is the reason why adults should also track their immunization calendars.
- Many doctors believe that it’s necessary to check each child’s immune status before vaccinating them. This might minimize complications but even people in economically developed countries can’t afford this mass examination. That’s why every parent should consult an immunologist on their own accord if they have concerns.
- Citizens of various countries are encouraged to get vaccinated not only for the sake of their own health, but for the sake of the society’s health too. There is a concept called herd immunity which speaks to a community’s ability to resist infectious diseases. For example, adults will start to get childhood infections (like rubella) only when less than 80-90% of kids are vaccinated against it.
Do you follow the immunization schedule of your country or do you have a different opinion about it? We would be glad to hear your opinions in the comments!
Preview photo credit depositphotos