The recommendations are clear: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics urge parents to vaccinate children against common childhood diseases. Research continues to prove two important facts about vaccines:

  • Vaccines are safe. Many common medications pose the same risk of serious side effects as vaccines.
  • Vaccines work. Vaccine-preventable diseases have been reduced by more than 90 percent through regular vaccinations.

“Kids are always going to be exposed to germs,” said Veronica Linares MD, FAAP and internist/pediatrician with Adventist Medical Group. “Vaccines are incredibly important to prevent the spread of diseases like diphtheria, pertussis, measles and many other illnesses that can cause very serious health complications.”

It can be easy to become overwhelmed with information and recommendations about vaccines. Here are a few more facts to keep in mind about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

Vaccines have not been proven to cause autism.

Research showing a link between vaccines and autism has since been retracted and labeled fraudulent. It was also found that three of the children listed as having autism were misdiagnosed, and five of the children in the study had development problems before being enrolled in the study.

Side effects of vaccines are generally mild.

The most common side effect from many vaccines is redness or soreness at the injection site. Occasionally, children under age two may experience a low-grade fever.

Follow the recommended schedule of immunizations.

Dr. Linares strongly encourages parents to stick to the AAP’s vaccination schedule.

“You want to protect your children as early and as soon as possible,” she said. “When you stick to the schedule, you are limiting the amount of time they can be exposed to these serious illnesses.”

“It’s also much easier to follow the recommended schedule than go off and try to remember what shots you need and when,” she added.

Seek information from a trusted, reliable resource.

It’s all too easy in this digital age to read or hear alarming, but sometimes false, stories. Be sure you are reading and reviewing information from reliable sources, such as the AAP, CDC or your pediatrician.

Vaccines keep our communities healthy.

Kids with a comprised immunity, such as those with HIV, sickle cell disease or children taking chemotherapy drugs, cannot be vaccinated. However, we can help make our communities healthier and stronger by ensuring children and family members become vaccinated.

If you have any questions or concerns about vaccines, please speak directly with your child’s pediatrician.