As a parent, I have always wanted to do what is best for my children. Making decisions about vaccinations was not a slam dunk. Even though I am a pediatrician, I still took extra time to try to sort through what is fact and what is the fiction. I made the decision to immunize my own children for the following reasons:
- The risk is real. The diseases vaccines are meant to prevent are potentially deadly and still common in other areas of our world. We live in a global environment. In our day-to-day lives at the grocery store or at work, we often encounter people who recently have traveled outside of the country. Just look at how fast the H1N1 virus spread!
- The younger the child, the more serious the illness can be. Several vaccines are specifically designed to protect very young children who are at a much higher risk for death or serious complications.
- Vaccines are safe. Autism and other disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are not caused by “shots.” In fact, in several countries where common vaccines such as MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) or HIB (haemophilus influenzae type b) were not offered for several years, there was no decline in autism or other related disorders.
I encourage everyone to be informed. Get the facts and protect your children. Immunize.
~ Lyn Ranta, MD, director of Physician Affairs, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Dr. Ranta is a co-leader of Children’s Hospital’s immunization initiative, and she treated children as a community pediatrician for more than 20 years.