Are Vaccines Safe?
There’s an unfortunate feeling of suspicion around vaccines, and the increasing number of them that our children get.
A vaccine is a dead or weakened part of a disease that is injected into your body. This then allows your body to make copies of its shape so it can identify the disease if you’re ever truly infected.
If you vaccinate enough people in a population then you give the disease nowhere to live, effectively eradicating it all together. This has been successfully done with smallpox and pretty much with polio too!
The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is the cause of the most controversy because of a miss published article in 1998 that linked it to autism. The scientific community quickly disproved that article.
The most dangerous part of this is that if a mother rejects giving her child the MMR vaccine all 3 of the diseases can prove fatal to the child.
The viruses effect the surroundings of the brain leading to meningitis, encephalitis and in the case of measles a condition may develop years after infection. Children have been left with fatal brain injuries as a result.
The vaccines will not give the disease to the child, however side effects do happen. Most commonly febrile seizures (where a child becomes very hot and may have a fit) and an increased risk of allergies.
These are unfortunately associated with how the vaccine works in your body but are statistically less significant than the risk of fatality if not given the vaccine.
Sam Fitzpatrick Final Year Medical Student, Cardiff University.
Milad Rouf Final Year Medical Student, Cardiff University.
Wakefield, A., Murch, S., Anthony, A., Linnell, J., Casson, D., Malik, M. and Berelowitz, M. et al. 1998. RETRACTED: Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. The Lancet 351(9103), pp. 637-641.
Maglione, M., Das, L., Raaen, L., Smith, A., Chari, R., Newberry, S. and Shanman, R. et al. 2014. Safety of Vaccines Used for Routine Immunization of US Children: A Systematic Review. PEDIATRICS 134(2), pp. 325-337.