Are Vaccines Dangerous?

Are Vaccines Dangerous?


Vaccines are held to the highest standard of safety. The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history. Years of testing are required by law before a vaccine can be licensed. Once in use, vaccines are continually monitored for safety and effectiveness. However, like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects like fever, muscle aches and injection site irritation.

Some people should not get certain vaccines or should wait to get them. For instance, children with compromised immune systems, as occurs with cancer patients, often need to wait to be vaccinated. Similarly, if a person has had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine, a following dose is not recommended.

Vaccines are among the most safe and effective public health interventions to prevent serious disease and death. Because of the success of vaccines, most Americans today have no firsthand experience with such devastating illnesses as polio or diphtheria. New vaccines undergo rigorous testing prior to receiving FDA approval; however, like all medicines and medical interventions, vaccines carry some risk.

Driven largely by concerns about potential side effects, there has been a shift in some parents’ attitudes toward the child immunization schedule. Therefore, the US Department of Health and Human services commissioned the Institute of Medicine to form a committee to review vaccine safety. This report is the most comprehensive examination of the immunization schedule to date. The committee did not uncover any evidence of major safety concerns associated with adherence to the childhood immunization schedule.

There are two critical points for vaccinations to work: 1) you need to be vaccinated and 2) your neighbor needs to be vaccinated. This is called “herd immunity”. When 90-95% of the herd is vaccinated it is nearly impossible for a germ to cause an epidemic. If over 10% of American parents “opt out” of vaccines, there is no question that our entire country will see these horrible diseases of days gone by return. Believe you me; I know from firsthand experience, you do not want this to happen!

Thimerosal (or mercury) was used in vaccines before as a preservative. It is no longer used in vaccines for infants since 2001; especially under the age of 6 months. Most vaccines no longer contain mercury at all; only multi-dose vials for influenza remain with the preservative. Now influenza is packaged in single dose vials which do not need or contain the preservative. Still mercury has not been proven to cause autism. But it can cause some allergic reactions and this is why it has been removed. Also the MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccine has not been proven to cause autism. Health care providers need to wait until 15-18 months of age to confirm a child has a language delay & make the diagnosis. It just happens to be the same time most infants get the MMR for the first time. But there are usually signs of autism before this time. Please talk to your health care provider if you have any questions.

Teresa Smith-Keil, FNP-C

Benefis Teton Medical Center Community Clinic

(406) 466 6085

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