What is vaccine hesitation?
This new term has been coined to describe parents who hesitate to give their children routine vaccinations on the recommended schedule, or they choose to not give their children vaccines at all.
Why the hesitation? Here are a few reasons parents choose to not vaccinate their children:
- Vaccines have been incredibly successful. Due to high vaccination rates, many formerly debilitating, painful, infectious diseases have been largely eliminated in the developed world. Polio, measles, mumps, and rubella simply do not take the toll they once did, so parents may be lulled into a false sense of security.
- The anti-vaccination movement has spread false assumption about vaccines. A shocking large number of parents refuse vaccines for their children during doctors’ visits under false assumptions that children should not receive multiple vaccines during a single visit or that the child’s immune system could become “overloaded,” an assertion that has no grounding whatsoever in scientific fact. Some parents even choose to arbitrarily space out vaccines longer than recommended by the vaccination schedule. Unfortunately, doing so puts children at risk and does not allow optimal immunity to develop.
What are the results of vaccine hesitation?
- Unnecessary suffering. Measles causes high fever, cough, rash, and painful feelings in the eyes. Whooping cough starts with cold-like symptoms and progresses into coughing fits that can last for weeks. All of this unpleasantness is completely preventable, however, via immunization.
- Unnecessary risk to your community. There are medical conditions that may preclude vaccination for some members of your community. Young infants may not be old enough to be scheduled for vaccination, and people undergoing chemotherapy or with a compromised immune system may not be able to be vaccinated. All it takes is exposure to a single infectious child for the health of these vulnerable community members to be devastatingly compromised.
Don’t hesitate. Do your part to protect your child and you community. Make sure for family is fully up to date on all their recommended, routine vaccinations.