Are vaccines safe for kids?

Controversy continues and creates a dilemma for parents

WyomingTribune/Eagle

By Becky Orr
borr@wyomingnews.com

CHEYENNE — For some people, vaccinating infants and children against preventable disease is a part of childhood, like baby teeth and tricycles.

But critics say vaccines cause more harm than good. Vaccinations can have dangerous physical side effects, they add.

Such conflicting messages can create a dilemma for parents as they wonder what to believe.

A national survey released in June of 376 households found that 80 percent of parents are uncomfortable getting their children vaccinated. Still, 95 percent said they would get the vaccinations.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Vaccine Program Office analyzed survey findings.

The biggest objection to vaccines is the pain of injection, cited by 38 percent of parents surveyed.

About 26 percent had concerns that ingredients in vaccines are not safe; 30 percent feared the shots could cause autism or other learning disabilities.

Some 32 percent worried about vaccine-caused fevers, and 2 percent said they would not get their infants vaccinated.

“The overwhelming number of parents have vaccinated or plan to vaccinate,” said Allison Kennedy, CDC epidemiologist and survey author. “But they had a lot of questions.”

Survey results found that parents look for information and want facts from their doctors.

“We know vaccines are very safe and protect children from potentially devastating illnesses,” Kennedy said.

Vaccines have been so successful that today’s parents have not experienced the illnesses that the shots prevent and may not realize their severity, she added.

The CDC in September said immunization of children ages 19 to 35 months against most vaccine-preventable disease remains high in the U.S. at more than 90 percent.

Children between the ages of birth to 6 years old are recommended to get 25 shots in their first 15 months, according to WebMD, an online publication. The vaccines are to protect against illnesses like whooping cough, measles, mumps, tetanus and polio and more.

CDC officials say vaccinations over time have prevented 14 million cases of vaccine-preventable deaths and 33,000 premature deaths.

But critics — like Dr. Sherri Tenpenny of the Vaccine Information Center — say they are toxic.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.