Vaccination is the single most important thing you can do to protect your child’s health – not just today, but for many years to come. Just because a disease is not common doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. The disease is still a threat, and often the only thing preventing it is the vaccine. Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease have occurred both here and in other countries where children have not been immunized.
FAQ Category: General Vax Questions
ARE VACCINES DANGEROUS?
The most common risks include pain and redness at the site of injection and low-grade fevers. The vast majority of risks are not severe and resolve within one to two days.
WHO DETERMINES THE CHILDHOOD VACCINATION SCHEDULE MOST COMMONLY FOLLOWED BY PEDIATRICIANS?
Vaccine schedules in the U.S. are developed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This group of vaccine experts receives input from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. This schedule is published yearly in January.
THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK LINKING VACCINES TO AUTISM, PARTICULARLY THE MEASLES MUMPS-RUBELLA VACCINE. DOES THE MMR VACCINE CAUSE AUTISM?
No. More than a dozen studies have been published showing that autism is not associated with receiving vaccines. We have more than sufficient information to say that vaccines, including MMR, do not cause autism. Autism, now more commonly referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a collection of several disorders that have common areas of abnormality. The main areas are social skills, communication skills and repetitive or obsessive traits. These abnormalities are typically noted between the first and second year of life. The MMR is also typically administered at this time. It is understandable that people noted the events occurring about the same time and concluded that the vaccine may be causing ASD. This belief was boosted by a study published by a British physician who said the MMR, and specifically the measles vaccine, caused autism. This study has been discredited, and the co-authors of the study subsequently published a formal retraction. While we still do not know exactly what does cause autism, it is likely caused by many factors, including genetics, abnormal brain growth, environmental triggers, and prematurity. Further studies to evaluate a link between vaccines and ASD is not beneficial and actually spend precious resources that could be redirected toward research critical to understanding and hopefully preventing ASD.
WHAT VACCINES CONTAIN ALUMINUM, AND ARE THE AMOUNTS HARMFUL? IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET VACCINES WITHOUT ALUMINUM?
Many vaccines contain alum, which has been used in vaccines for over 75 years and has been found to be safe. Alum is an adjuvant. Adjuvants are used to help our bodies create a better immune response to vaccines, making the vaccines more effective. Without an adjuvant, children may need more shots or have lower immunity to the infections. We routinely ingest aluminum. For example, a quart of infant formula contains about the same amount of aluminum as the entire schedule of recommended pediatric vaccines.
SOME PARENTS ARE OPTING NOT TO HAVE THEIR CHILD VACCINATED? WHAT ARE THE RISKS OR BENEFITS?
Cases of measles, mumps and whooping cough have increased in the U.S., occurring overwhelmingly in unimmunized children. In most outbreaks of measles, it has been found that unimmunized children were 20 times more likely to contract measles than vaccinated children. So, parents choosing not to immunize their children are putting their children at risk of getting infections that are far more serious than the risks associated with the vaccines.
ISN’T THE US SAFE FROM DISEASES SUCH AS POLIO? WHY VACCINATE A CHILD FOR THAT?
Airplane travel – and our ability to cross the globe in under a day – means anyone could be exposed to any infection before the contagious person even begins to show symptoms. Immunizations are needed to keep our children safe. To date, throughout the world, smallpox is the only infectious disease that has been eradicated. Vaccines can safeguard our children against many others.
DO VACCINES CONTAIN GELATIN FROM PIGS?
Yes, some viral vaccines contain gelatin to stabilize vaccines so that they remain effective after manufacture. All gelatin contained in vaccines is porcine in origin. However, both leaders of the Jewish and Muslim faiths have declared that pork derived additives in medicines are permitted for those observant of these religions. Rabbi Abraham Adler, from the Kashrus and Medicines Information Service in the United Kingdom has advised that “according to Jewish laws, there is no problem with porcine or other animal derived ingredients in non-oral products. This includes vaccines, injections, suppositories, creams and ointments”. Scholars of the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences have also determined that the process by which the original pork product is transformed into gluten, alters it enough whereby it is permitted for observers of Muslim faith to receive vaccines.
DO VACCINES CONTAIN FETAL TISSUE?
No. While some vaccines against viruses (chickenpox, rubella and hepatitis A) use fetal cells grow the vaccine viruses; once the vaccine virus is grown, it is purified, so that no human cells or human genetic material (DNA) remain in the vaccine.
What type of mercury is found in vaccines?
Thimerosal, which is used in some flu vaccine formulations, contains ethyl mercury. This is readily excreted from the body. The accumulative, toxic form of mercury found in certain kinds of fish, is methyl mercury.