Vaccinations against life-threatening diseases are one of the greatest public health achievements in history. Yet, even today, one in four children in the United States is not fully vaccinated.
Vaccines teach the immune system to recognize deadly viruses and bacteria so the immune system can prevent disease when a child comes in contact with these organisms.
Washington University Clinical Associates pediatrician, Alla Dorfman, MD, talks about the misinformation that may influence parents to not have their children vaccinated.
Dr. Dorfman says, “Many people in the United States have never witnessed the debilitating diseases that are prevented by vaccines. They may not believe these illnesses are serious and prefer natural immunity. I understand that parents today turn to the Internet for guidance, but in researching information about vaccinations, I’ve discovered many parents find sources to support their own fears.”
“According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the common misconceptions parents have about vaccinations are that better hygiene and sanitation work just as well, that vaccine-preventable diseases have been virtually eliminated, and that giving a child multiple vaccines at the same time can overload the immune system and increase harmful side effects.”
When talking to parents who are reluctant to vaccinate their children, Dr. Dorfman brings her own experience into the conversation. “As a physician, I have witnessed the severe complications of diseases that are 100% preventable with vaccinations. The outbreaks of measles and pertussis in California should send a powerful message on the importance of vaccinating our children.”
Dr. Dorfman also addresses the concern about the link to autism with vaccinations. She says, “I am direct with my statement – the link does not exist and multiple studies have proven this fact.
The myth about this link between autism and vaccinations began with a study published in 1998 – this study has since been discredited and the doctor who wrote it lost his medical license. Studies involving over 25 million children have proven that vaccines do not cause autism. Unfortunately, despite evidence to the contrary, many parents still believe the link between autism and vaccinations exists and refuse to immunize their children.
Autism is a complicated genetic disorder, and scientists are still studying how the environment influences and increases its genetic predisposition. There is much more to learn.”
Vaccines may cause mild side effects. These include soreness at the site of the shot, or sometimes a slight fever or rash for a day following administration. Serious reactions are very rare. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh any risk.
Send your children traveling safely through life by vaccinating them!
For more information and the complete schedule of recommended vaccinations, please visit the St. Louis Children’s Hospital website.
Dr. Dorfman is currently accepting new patients. Please call 636-939-3362 for an appointment. Patients are seen at:
4200 N. Cloverleaf Drive, Suite F
St. Peters, MO, 63376