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The beginning of the school year marks a time period when parents and other caregivers are swamped with paperwork to complete from their children’s school, and many of them have concerns about their children’s vaccine schedule.
Dr. Marion Gruber, director of the office of Vaccines Research and Review for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), states that, “Parents should know that vaccines protect children from many serious illnesses from infectious diseases. The risk of being harmed by vaccines is much smaller than the risk of serious illness from infectious diseases,” she says.
The biggest complaint most children experience from vaccination is soreness around the site where they were injected. Other than that, there are no serious effects; and if they are, the instances are very rare.
Childhood diseases like measles, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) and diphtheria have become rare occurrences thanks to vaccines. Vaccines have worked wonders to make childhood diseases like smallpox and polio nonexistent in United States. Thus, the use of vaccines has prevented many children in the United States from having to suffer and die from various diseases that were once commonplace in childhood.
According to Gruber, just because vaccination has made childhood diseases of the past a very rare phenomenon, parents cannot dismiss the possibility these diseases can still occur—especially if people elect not to have their children vaccinated.
Review the vaccine information sheets
The following material contains information required by law that healthcare professionals have to provide on the pros and cons of using vaccines.
Discuss the pros and cons of having your child vaccinated with your child’s physician.
It’s important to know the risks taken when parents decide not to let their children have vaccines. For example, diseases that are preventable because of vaccines (i.e. pertussis, diphtheria and measles) are known to be fatal or cause lasting harm for some children.
Notify the doctor about your child’s medical history prior to getting them vaccines.
If your child has a medical history of previous illnesses or has had an allergic reaction to vaccines in the past, then your child’s healthcare provider needs to know that. Also, tell the doctor of any known allergies your child has. If your child is allergic to eggs, then a flu vaccine could prove to be harmful or fatal to your child since eggs are used to produce flu vaccines.
People sensitive to latex may have a problem taking vaccines that are packaged in latex material. Also, you should let your child’s doctor know about vaccines your child should avoid because of a weak immune system.
Report adverse reactions
The FDA and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend all parents report any adverse reactions or other problems from taking a vaccine to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.