The widespread immunisation of children in the 20th century was a major breakthrough in the history of medicine that almost eliminated a number of serious diseases and alleviated much suffering.
So why do some parents still believe that having their young kids vaccinated is not a good idea? We clear up some of the most common misconceptions about immunisation.
Misconception 1: Vaccines cause autism and other disorders
“Many people I speak to seem to think that child vaccinations can lead to conditions like autism and learning disabilities, but this is absolutely not the case,” says Gail Rhoda, a registered nurse and clinic sister at Clicks Clinic in Kenilworth Centre, Cape Town. “If they don’t take my word for it, I usually recommend that parents call the toll-free Vaccine Helpline on 0860-160-160 to have their concerns answered."
Over a dozen scientific studies have shown that there is no evidence of a link between autism and immunisations, in particular the combination vaccine for measles, mumps and German measles (rubella) known as MMR.
Misconception 2: Skipping vaccinations is fine - it’s best to wait until your kids are older
Vaccinations are scheduled to protect your child when they are at their most vulnerable. "You should bring your baby to your nearest Clicks Clinic at six weeks for their first vaccination," explains Rhoda. "We work in partnership with the Department of Health and cover all of your child’s immunisation needs, whether you choose the official government schedule or a private schedule.”
By not sticking to the recommended vaccination schedule, you put your own child, as well as other people, at a greater risk of contracting diseases.
Misconception 3: Vaccines contain dangerous substances
Many vaccines do include additives such as formaldehyde and aluminium to prevent contamination by bacteria, but only in very small quantities. A substance called thimerosal, which contains mercury, has been removed from the majority of childhood vaccines even though it has been shown not to be a health concern.
Medical experts note that all vaccines undergo stringent safety tests before they are approved for public use.
Misconception 4: Vaccines provide total protection against disease
While the effectiveness of modern immunisations varies from about 75 to 95 percent, they do not offer 100 percent protection – nothing does – but vaccination gives your child the best chance of staying disease-free.
Misconception 5: Multiple vaccinations will overwhelm your baby’s immune system
While it’s true that your child will have received a considerable number of vaccinations by the time they turn two, doctors assure parents that even small kids have a great natural capacity to safely respond to challenges to their budding immune system and that sticking to recommended vaccination schedules is perfectly safe for a child’s future development.
Misconception 6: Vaccinations are no longer necessary
Many illnesses have all but disappeared from the planet, but to keep things that way, high immunisation rates among the general population continue to be very important. Outbreaks of diseases like measles and whooping cough still occur, even in highly developed countries, often as a result of parents refusing to vaccinate their kids.
Vaccinations at Clicks Clinics
Baby immunisations are available at Clicks clinics, including the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. Stay on track with your little one's immunisations with the Clicks childhood vaccination schedule.
To make an appointment at a Clicks Clinic, call 0860 254 257 or book online at Clicks Clinics online.
IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com