Worth the Risk?

Should parents opt their children out of vaccinations?

Worth the Risk?

As soon as we are out of our mother’s womb and into the bright, loud world, we are put into the inviting arms of an Obstetrician. From birth to death, we are treated by all different kinds of doctors and nurses.  We gulp down all sorts of medication, continually get checkups, and undertake the painful stabbing of the mass array of vaccinations.  And, if getting poked in the fattiest part of your arm isn’t dreadful enough, how about learning that the solution they are plunging in you contains a virus? According to Webster’s Dictionary, a vaccination is “the introduction into humans or domestic animals of microorganisms that have previously been treated to make them harmless for the purpose of inducing the development of immunity”. So, if vaccinations are here to help young kids and teens become immune to many alarming diseases, including polio and the measles, why are parents suddenly opting out of vaccinations for their kids?

The scariest thing to parents, other than listening to their child cry in the car all the way home, is the unknown effects of what these vaccinations are doing to their children.  Younger children, especially babies, run into the risk of having their immune systems become overwhelmed by all the vaccinations they will get. Jennifer Maldonado, FACS teacher and parent of three younger children, is thankful that “none of my children have ever been affected by a vaccination.” Vaccines are not designed to hurt the people receiving them, only to help them. The antigens inside vaccinations build up the immune system with antibodies that are able to fight off future injections. Without these vaccinations, a baby’s, or any age person’s, immune system won’t be able to fight off the diseases we can easily attract.

Another concern from parents is the side effects that come with vaccinations. Dr. Todd Veltman, teacher and parent of one child, described his opinion and insight on vaccinations, “I feel safe knowing my child is vaccinated because the alternative is scary. As an example, before smallpox was eradicated from the U.S. due to vaccines, 30% of the people who contracted the disease died.” Being an aware parent, Dr. Veltman also portrayed his concerns for others, “People who are not vaccinating their children are putting them at real danger. The only reason people aren’t concerned about the effects of these diseases is because they have not witnessed the effects of them since they have been almost wiped out in the United States.”Some common side effects can include swelling at where the injection was, fever, headaches, and muscle pain. However, these mild side effects are considered nothing to what could happen if you do not get your vaccinations. Take whooping cough, a vaccination that is prescribed multiple times during your first year of birth and also sprinkled til you’re five years old, has scarier side effects than what the vaccination could give to you. Whooping cough gives you a severe cough, along with congestion, fatigue, swollen throats and vomiting. Based on the possible effects of a vaccination and the certain effects of whooping cough, which would you rather have?

So, what is the best for your child or yourself? Are vaccinations really the best way to go? My answer, along with Maldonado, Dr. Veltman, and many other parents, is yes. “I was never hesitant on vaccinating my kids,” Maldonado explained, “I want to protect themselves and the others around them.” These aching shots are actually really good for you and keep you safe. They help block out the terrible diseases that a person can attract, but could potentially come with a price. Nonetheless, I would rather take this price any day than acquire a deadly infection. Like Dr. Veltman said, “Vaccines are thoroughly tested and are proven to be effective. The chance of an individual having a severe adverse reaction to a childhood vaccination is extremely low.” Taking a 15 second sting to my sensitive arm to save my life is totally worth it.