|Immunisation – should you do it and when?|
|Written by Jane|
|Thursday, 21 June 2007|
Page 1 of 2A first time mum asked me to take a look at the issue of immunisation. Like many mums she wonders whether the benefits of having immunisations outweigh the risks. Every parent should take the time to inform themselves on the immunisations on offer and the potential risks before deciding whether to immunise or not.
Benefits of immunisationThe main argument for immunisation is that society needs it to reduce the risks of a disease outbreak. With a disease outbreak, the reasoning goes; more children are affected badly by the disease than those who are reported as being affected by the vaccination process. The fewer children there are immunised in a society, the more likely it is that there will be an outbreak of a life threatening disease.
Questions raised in immunisationThe problem is that we are being asked individually to give a healthy child something which could potentially make them unhealthy.
What are the odds, we must ask ourselves, that our child will be the one who will get the disease if they are not immunised? Well, the odds rise for a disease to occur and spread as fewer children are immunised. So if the viewpoint of the conscientious objector becomes the prevalent one, then your child’s risk individually grows. The irony of this situation is that it is only in the luxury of a society like ours, where immunisation rates are high, that such conscientious objectors can thrive in reasonable safety.
The second question you should consider is the risks for your individual baby of having a bad reaction to an immunisation. Factors that might affect your choice include size, the general health of your baby, how old your baby is and any family history of bad reactions to medications, or a history of immune system problems in the family, such as chronic fatigue syndrome.
You don’t need to go as far as a conspiracy theory to realise that we are in a vulnerable position of not really understanding what we are being asked to do to our children. Few independent bodies exist that have the funding and expertise to critically examine vaccines and their affects. Immunisation studies for approval are rigorous but they are designed and run by the drug companies who sell the vaccines. They are also promoted by governments who work on the principle of reducing overall risk in a society. So the question is: who is going to put money into discrediting these trials? Maybe that is one reason why there are a number of anti-immunisation sites on the internet. As a parent, it’s worth looking at some of these sites, but always worth double checking any facts with other sources to see if an informed decision has been made. Informing yourself is the key.
Personal choiceAs a concerned parent, I am putting forward my situation to assist the thought processes, while being very aware that I am not in any way able to give an easy answer to such a complex issue. Things worth considering include postponing the injections, breast feeding, keeping your food and your baby’s food healthy, avoiding illness and reducing foreign bacteria when out and about.