Are you anxious about your child’s vaccines?
How anxious are you about vaccinating your child? How much of your anxiety is rooted in fact?
It seems at least weekly I hear questions from parents that are truly anxious about vaccines. There is so much information for parents to read, and much of it is very scary. There is a lot of untrue information circulating on the web, and it is very difficult to determine what is true and untrue regarding vaccines. There are so many questions today…and most of these questions are a result of true fear and misinformation. Most parents don’t really understand the vaccines that are recommended and don’t really know too much about the diseases they prevent. Parents have a right to know and to understand the “whys” for all the vaccines that are recommended and parents have the right to know what information is rooted in research based science.
So how can a parent find out the truths about vaccines?
- Do your homework. If you have questions about vaccines do a little research. The internet is great, but be sure that the websites are reputable. Sites you trust should be authored by people in medicine or science, not just parents of children.
- Remember, there are many alarming stories that are online, many are not based on fact! As parents, we always want a reason when our child becomes ill or is diagnosed with a disease. Many times vaccines become a convenient “explanation”.
- Bring your questions and the information you find to your child’s doctor. Your child’s doctor should take the time to go over any questions you have prior to giving your child his or her vaccines. As parents you need to have open discussions about your questions or anxieties. Have these discussions at the start of your child’s well child exam, not at the moment the vaccines are going to be given.
- Always know what vaccines your child is receiving and why. You should always receive a Vaccine Information Statement or VIS for every vaccine your child will be receiving. Read this information, it will tell you what vaccine your child is receiving, what disease it is protecting your child from, and any typical side effects you may see.
Remember, vaccines prevent our children from devastating diseases that most of us have never (thankfully) seen. We sometimes still see outbreaks of disease in pockets where there are children or adults who are not fully vaccinated. Your child is NOT protected from these diseases if he or she is not fully vaccinated, THAT is a fact. We will look very closely at all the recommended childhood vaccines this week and hopefully some of the anxieties that you have as a parent will be put to rest. Worry is a part of parenthood…but vaccines should not be on your worry list!
Here are some websites that I like…
- www.healthychildren.org This is a website the American Academy of Pediatrics publishes for parents. The information is up to date and easy to understand.
- www.nnii.org The National Network for Immunization Information provides up to date information for parents and health care professionals. All the information is evidence based with links to scientific journal articles supporting the information. The National Network for Immunization Information is an independent group that receives no funding from drug companies or the federal government.
- www.vaccine.chop.edu This website is from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Vaccine Education Center. It has reliable information about all vaccines and covers most of the “hot topics” that parents read online. There are videos and information on every vaccine recommended for your child.
- www.CDC.gov This website will give science based information and Vaccine Information Statements for all vaccines. Yearly updates for the vaccine schedule will be published here too.
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.