BOSTON (CBS) – Vaccines have been proven to prevent childhood diseases like whooping cough, measles, and mumps. But, not all parents are convinced the shots are safe for their kids. “It just didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t understand why a little human had to get so many drugs at one time,” says one mom who did not want to be identified because she knows her decision isn’t popular. She believes her family’s healthy lifestyle is enough to protect her kids.
Lexington pediatrician Dr. Julie Dollinger disagrees saying vaccines are the cornerstone of modern pediatric care, “vaccines are good safe effective, they save lives.” Like most pediatricians Dr. Dollinger advises parents to get their kids immunized. “Some parents do worry that some of the vaccines can cause autism. And they remain concerned about this despite the fact that there have been many, many very large, very well designed studies disproving it,” says Dr. Dollinger. And she says even the youngest immune systems can handle the shots, “a toddler who falls down on the playground and then wipes his hand on his face is going to expose himself to many more antigens then a vaccine contains.”
A total of 1,181 kindergartners in Massachusetts opted out of vaccines last year.
Public health officials say it’s not just about these kids getting sick, it’s also about infecting others.
Summer Robinson experienced this first hand, “you don’t ever want to go through that. You don’t ever want to be in an ICU unit not knowing if your child is going to live. Especially, over a disease that’s supposed to be preventable.” Summer’s 3-week-old boy, Rorick, wound up in intensive care for whooping cough, a disease that’s been on the rise in the US. Massachusetts had 652 whooping cough cases last year more than double the year before.
In Rorick’s case he was still too young for the vaccine leaving him exposed. “If your 10-year-old has it and you’re in Walmart near my 3-week-old baby you could essentially kill my 3-week-old baby because you didn’t want to vaccinate your child.”
The most typical side effects for any vaccine are all temporary and include soreness, redness, and a low grade fever.
For more information visit www.CDC.gov
WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports