Home > Babies and Toddlers > Health and Safety > Immunizations and Vaccines > A Closer Look at the Vaccine Debate
|

A Closer Look at the Vaccine Debate

Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children don't fit neatly into a certain demographic. But the anti-vaccine trend appears to be growing among people who distrust the government, as well as some parents in communities immersed in "all-natural," organic, and homeopathic living.

Some parents are opting not to vaccinate their children at all, while others are using a different vaccine schedule than the standard version because of their lingering questions about vaccine safety. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducts at least of 10 years of testing before vaccines are licensed, and continues to conduct studies to further ensure vaccine safety.

The AAP says that top disease experts review the childhood immunization schedule every year, and the schedule is considered the ideal for healthy children (kids with certain allergies or health conditions may need to use a revised schedule, so talk with your pediatrician). "There is no research to show that a child would be equally protected against diseases with a different schedule," the AAP says. "Also, there is no scientific reason why spreading out the shots would be safer. But we do know that any length of time without immunizations is a time without protection."

Some parents wonder if vaccinations might overwhelm their child's immune system, but the AAP says that children's bodies fight more germs every day just by playing, eating, and breathing (2,000 to 6,000 germs, or antigens, on an average day) than they do as a result of vaccines (150 antigens for the whole immunization schedule).

Anti-vaccine Doctors and Websites
Some "natural parenting" magazines and websites have featured homeopathic practitioners who question the need for vaccines and the seriousness of illnesses. In 2011, Mothering magazine published an article by a homeopathic pediatrician who downplayed the seriousness of whooping cough. In 2012, the U.S. had the worst year for whooping cough since 1955 — with about 42,000 cases and 18 deaths (including 15 infants younger than 1).

A small yet vocal minority of doctors have called measles "benign" and consider vaccinations "unnatural." The CDC lists vaccine ingredients, and experts say the ingredients serve a purpose and are used in safe amounts. For example, aluminum is used to boost the body's immune response to vaccines, and most vaccines contain less aluminum than an aspirin or antacid tablet and some kinds of infant formula.

One outspoken anti-vaccine physician, Dr. Jack Wolfson, a cardiologist who practices holistic medicine, has said children have "the right" to contract contagious illnesses like measles, and told the Arizona Republic, "I'm not going to put my child at risk to save another child." The Arizona Medical Board is currently investigating Wolfson.



|


highlights

Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks