Immunizations and the risks behind them

Vaccines prevent more than 2.5 million deaths each year(11 facts about vaccines, 1). Vaccines are substances used to stimulate the production of antibodies. They provide immunity against one or several diseases. This means that the medication will protect the children from diseases if they were exposed to them. Opponents have questioned the effectiveness, safety, and necessity of all recommended vaccines. Also many believe that mandatory vaccines violate individual rights. These controversies have reduced vaccination rates. I want to be able to understand why vaccines are important to take and why do newborns take so many vaccines as soon as they are born.

In 1798, smallpox was killing thousands of people. Until Edward Jenner, an english physician and scientist, noticed the first vaccine ever. Jenner invented a vaccine for Smallpox. It is a contagious viral disease with fever and pustules that usually leave permanent scars. Jenner had noticed that milkmaids that had been contracted smallpox did not get smallpox. This was the first vaccine and ever since smallpox has not been around. There are other diseases like measles that have been arising because not enough people vaccinate. Measles is a infectious disease that, occurs in childhood and causes fever and red rash on the skin. There are many vaccines that protect people from diseases. Most vaccines are given to children at two, four to six, twelve to fifteen months and four to six years old.

Based on the article, “What a baby will need,” Hepatitis B is a vaccine that all newborns receive right after birth. This vaccine helps prevent liver disease that can cause liver failure and cancer. Newborns usually receive one dose after birth and a second one when one to two months of age. There is no dangerous risk for this vaccine but soreness. The second vaccine given to children is the Rotavirus vaccine (RV). This vaccine is taken orally in children from two to four months and at six months old of age. Rotavirus prevents dehydration in babies. The side effects for rotavirus is fussiness and may have mild diarrhea or vomit temporary. The DTap vaccine is a combined vaccine. It protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. It is given to children at two months then at four to six months, fifteen to eighteen months and finally at four to six years of age.  For this vaccine fever, tenderness, swelling and loss of appetite are the risks that can be taken.

There is also the Haemophilus Influenzae Type B Conjugate Vaccine also known as Hib. Hib is given at two, four to six and at fifteen to eighteen months. Hib is a vaccine that may not be heard a lot commonly, but it is important. Before this vaccine was developed children had bacterial meningitis. It now prevents brain damage or pneumonia. Hib vaccine has proven to be very effective. Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13) is another vaccine that is given to children. It is given when they are two, four to six, and twelve to fifteen months. When they are most vulnerable to this disease the vaccine protects children for three years. PCV13 can prevent an illness that leads to death. This illness is called Streptococcus pneumoniae. It can also cause meningitis, pneumonia and ear infection as well as others.

Measles, mumps and rubella, is the MMR vaccine that protects from a very dangerous disease. MMR also prevents from causing rashes and fevers that can lead to serious conditions like pneumonia, meningitis, seizures and deafness.  This vaccine is not given to children under one year of age but it can be given twelve month to fifteen and at four to six years.

Another disease that children may be exposed to is Meningococcal. This disease can cause infections such as blood infection. The Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine, Quadrivalent (MCV4) is taken from nine to twenty-three months. It is recommended that adolescents eleven to eighteen also take two doses because it prevents the disease. There is also the risk of getting liver disease if not vaccinated with Hepatitis A. It can be taken after twelve months old to fifteen months old. There can be some side effects like soreness, tiredness, loss of appetite and headache but not any high risk effects.

A vaccine for the chickenpox is also available for children twelve to fifteen months and four to six years. The article, “What baby will need” It says, “complications from chickenpox include a bacterial infection of the skin, swelling of the brain and pneumonia.” This vaccine is called varicella vaccine. This vaccine may not work fully on everyone but it does allow them to recover faster. Some states may now require this vaccine. It is good so children do not miss school. The only risks would be soreness, rash and fever but the chicken pox already cause fever. But there are many more diseases to which there is no vaccine yet. These rare diseases are usually found in children. some diseases are found at birth while others do not become known until much later in life. These diseases are called orphaned. According to the article, “Rare diseases deserve more than just one day a year”, “Did you know that a disease is considered rare if it is believed to affect fewer than 200,000 Americans?”(Howard, par. 1). It is incredible to see the diseases that can arise to children and to which there is no vaccine to help them.

There are many schools in california that ask for some vaccines in order to start the school year. While some parents do not vaccinate their children thinking that vaccines are not safe other parents can not vaccinate for other reasons., “As it stands, all 50 states require specific vaccines for school-aged children, although each grants exemptions for students unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons”(Atlantic, par. 1). Sometimes the main reason could be that people are allergic to a component of the vaccine or there may be a severe life threatening reaction to the vaccine. For example if a child is allergic to eggs than they should first consult with the doctor or allergist before receiving the flu vaccine. This is an example of when a child is not vaccinated. Also children who have leukemia, lymphoma, and other types of cancer or AIDS should not receive any type of weakened vaccine. For children’s vaccines are usually postponed if the child is sick. The reason for this is because it may not be able to fight off the little infection that the vaccines produce. Many say it is the choice of every individual if either they want to vaccinate or not. This would be correct if it only affected them. Unfortunately when people do not vaccinate, it affects everyone simply because if there are more people that do not vaccinate, it makes it harder for the one that are vaccinated to be protected against diseases. But if there is more people vaccinated then those people protect the ones that haven’t yet been vaccinated because of medical reason. As more people refuse to vaccinate the risks of outbreaks increase.

There are many risks in vaccines just like any other medicine but the more serious reactions are very rare. According to the article, “Vaccinations” Some of the risks include death. It is rare and usually happens in adults not children. There is one disease called measles that has been arising and many parents do not understand why. “Measles is one of the most contagious diseases and can cause severe complications, including pneumonia, swelling of the brain, and death”(FDA, par. 5). For children the less dangerous risk is soreness and fever. But for adults the risks are not always that simple. Some of the risks can be very painful for example chronic arthritis. Arthritis is joint disease usually in middle aged people. For chronic arthritis there is only medication to decrease the pain but nothing to cure it. There is also; prolonged deep sleep, body rash, twitching, head and neck pain, muscle weakness, loss of memory, fatigue, lack of eye contact, respiratory distress and many more. Fortunately for children it is more common for them to get a high fever.

There have been doubts about vaccines because of the theory that they  cause autism. Autism is a spectrum disorder that is characterized by social impairments and communication difficulties. Scientists do not know what causes autism but it is said that the environment and genetics have something to do with it. The Centers for disease control and prevention, have evidence that vaccines do not cause autism and that it is just a theory. After many tests it was proven that vaccines have no link with autism.

Vaccines are not one-hundred percent safe there can always be  side effects . For children there are many diseases to protect from. There are common vaccines like the Tdap that is very known because of school requirements. Then there are other diseases that are unknown and may not have a vaccine. Vaccines usually cause soreness and high fevers in children but death is not common. It is said that children are more easily to get unknown diseases but also do not vaccinate because of the decisions of their parents. Vaccines are important for children because they protect them from diseases such as measles. When less people vaccinate it is easier for measles just like any other vaccine to come back. There are other children who do not vaccinate because of medical reasons such as leukemia or allergies. This is why you should do your part when more are vaccinated that protects the unvaccinated. Get informed and vaccinate your child.  It is their protection but also the protection of others.

Works cited

Baker, Jeffrey P. “Mercury, Vaccines, and Autism: One Controversy, Three Histories.” American Journal of Public Health. American Public Health Association, Web. 16 Apr. 2015.


Ciolli, Anthony. “Mandatory School Vaccinations: The Role of Tort Law.” The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, September. 2008. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.


“How Vaccines Work — History of Vaccines.” History of Vaccines RSS. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.


Sarah Yang. “What a baby will need.”The Bump. 2015. Web. April. 2015


“Vaccinations? Know the Risks and Failures.” National Vaccine Information Center.Web. 16 Apr. 2015.


“Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Nov. 2014. Web. 16 April. 2015.


“U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” Vaccines for Children- A guide for parents and caregivers. Web. 17 May 2015.


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