Vaccination Controversy

by Dr. Daniel Hinthorn

Q:

My doctor says I should get my newborn vaccinated, but I’m not sure because of safety concerns I’ve heard from my friends. Besides, are these diseases kids are being vaccinated against even around anymore?

A:

Controversy regarding vaccine safety has existed for a number of years, and the medical community is well acquainted with the arguments against immunizations.

However, solid research over the past two decades has shown vaccines to be safe and effective. Like any medicine, vaccines can have side effects, but negative outcomes for children are uncommon and usually minor.

On the other hand, consider this alarming trend: In the past few years, several preventable childhood diseases—including measles, mumps and whooping cough—have made a comeback. During 2000 to 2007, there were an average of 63 cases of measles reported in the U.S. per year. In 2014, alone, there were more than 640 cases of measles reported—the highest number in the U.S. since 2000. This rise is attributed to children not receiving immunizations.

One of the reasons children go unvaccinated is that parents aren’t aware of the horrible toll caused in years past. Prior to vaccination, thousands of children were killed or disabled each year by diseases that are often now viewed as harmless childhood illnesses. The fact that we don’t hear a lot about how dangerous these diseases are is a testimony to the effectiveness of immunization.

Parents should discuss any questions or concerns they have with their baby’s doctor.

—Dr. Daniel Hinthorn, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and member of Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council.


This article appeared in the April/May 2015 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2015 by Dr. Daniel Hinthorn. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.


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