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Vaccines: The real risk vs. the real benefits

GLENN ELLIS | 3/19/2017, 7:02 a.m.
Most Americans today have no concept of the terror generated by polio throughout the first half of the 20th century. ...
Boxes of single-doses vials of the measles-mumps-rubella virus vaccine live, or MMR vaccines are keep frozen inside a freezer. CDC recommends all children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Damian Dovarganes

There is simply no scientific evidence that links vaccines to autism. Many, many, many studies have confirmed this. Since 2003, there have been nine CDC-funded or conducted studies that have found no link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism, as well as no link between the MMR vaccine and autism in children. The most recent Cochrane systematic review of research on the MMR vaccine included six self-controlled case series studies, two ecological studies, one case crossover trial, five-time series trials, 17 case-control studies, 27 cohort studies and five randomized controlled trials. More than 15 million children took part in this research. No one could find evidence that vaccines are associated with autism.

Many parents object to vaccines because they believe so many vaccines to an immature immune system can cause harm. All the major health organizations currently recommend that infants and children be vaccinated against 14 communicable diseases. For children who fall into a high-risk category, there are even more vaccines available. What this means is, starting at birth, most children will receive about 29 vaccines by the age of 6. By the age of 2, most children will receive approximately 24.

In the journal Pediatrics in 2002, Dr. Paul Offit and his colleagues estimated that infants could respond to about 10,000 vaccines at any one time. The vaccine we get could never “use up” the immune system. It is thought that 11 vaccines at once might put about 0.1 percent of the immune system into action. A child most likely fights off 2,000 to 6,000 antigens every day from the environment.

Yes, we’re giving more shots, but a child’s immune system has to do far less work to respond to them than in the past.

There is one undisputed fact regarding vaccines. Vaccines are drugs, and no drug available on earth is considered 100 percent safe. However, most childhood vaccines are 90 percent to 99 percent effective in preventing disease.

Parents ultimately have the freedom of choice, in most cases, to decline vaccinations for their children.

It all boils down to risk vs. benefit.

Remember, I’m not a doctor. I just sound like one.

Take good care of yourself and live the best life possible!

This column is for informational purposes only. If you have a medical condition or concern, please seek professional care from your doctor or other health professional. Glenn Ellis, is a Health Advocacy Communications Specialist and is available through http://www.glennellis.com.