Mae West once said, "Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can't figure out what from." Well, we know what we want to protect your kids from: diphtheria, influenza, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rubella (German measles), tetanus, and chickenpox. These are vaccine-preventable diseases; until the vaccines, they claimed the lives of many thousands annually.
Unfortunately, there's widespread anxiety about vaccinations. We know you're trying to do right for your child, but rumors spread across the Internet that vaccines cause diseases, that natural immunity is better and safer than vaccination, and that newborns aren't ready for vaccines.
We want to be very clear: We interviewed more than 150 "experts" on every side of the issue for "YOU: Having a Baby" and "YOU: Raising Your Child." The full analysis is in those books. Our bottom line: Vaccinations have more benefits than risks. Are they 100 percent safe? No. But the benefits vastly outweigh the dangers.
Refusing to vaccinate has consequences; 2010 saw more than 21,000 cases of whooping cough in the U.S.; 22 children less than 1 year old died. When children don't get vaccinations, it endangers their health and everyone else's. About 5 percent of the time, vaccinations don't produce immunity; but if everyone is vaccinated, the disease never takes hold in a community and the 5 percent avoid exposure and infection. Since there is no easy way to tell for whom the vaccine didn't work for, protection for the whole community is better if everyone gets the shots.
© 2012 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.