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HEALTH ISSUE Good Reasons to Vaccinate Infants

August 3, 2014
Plain English Version

VaccinationsParents should have their infants vaccinated. Vaccinations protect against measles, mumps, rubella (German measles) and varicella (chickenpox). Some parents worry that the vaccinations may cause autism. Scientists say there is no proof that they do.

Doctors say the reasons to immunize far outweigh any risks.

Vaccinations do carry a small risk of seizures. A recent study showed that, the longer parents wait to vaccinate their infants, the greater the risk. Infants are given their “shots” within a year of birth. A small number have seizures within ten days of the shots.

Some infants get their shots more than a year after birth. The risk of having a seizure doubles when parents wait. The risk of having a seizure multiplies by six when adding the chickenpox shot. Scientists agree that the vaccinations should be done when they are recommended.

Another reason to vaccinate is shown in the recent rise in the number of cases of measles in the United States. The number of cases has hit a new high since the disease was eliminated in the U.S. 14 years ago.

Measles is highly contagious and easily spread. Measles can result when unvaccinated people go to places where most people are not vaccinated (such as many foreign countries). They catch measles and then return home carrying the disease.

The latest outbreak was traced to unvaccinated Amish people who went to the Philippines and then returned to Ohio. Two of the Amish members caught measles. They spread it in their community. There were 164 cases as of last week.

Ohio has set up free immunization clinics in nearby areas. More than 8,000 people have been vaccinated in response. California also has had a recent outbreak. It does not require parents to have their children vaccinated.

Several states order vaccinations for children when they enter schools and day care centers.

Source: The New York Times May 29, 2014

Source: The Wall Street Journal May 29, 2014

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