Although there is a lot of debate on vaccines and vaccinations, infants should be given them because the benefits outweigh the alleged risks. Infants below 6 months of age are given 6 vaccines which protect them as children from 8 serious diseases caused by viruses and bacteria.
The eight diseases are:
- Diphtheria which can lead to breathing problems, heart failure and death.
- Tetanus which results in stiffness of the jaw so the victim can’t open his mouth or swallow. It causes death in about 1 out of 5 cases.
- Hepatitis B which causes liver damage, liver cancer and death.
- Polio which leads to paralysis.
- Pertussis leading to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.
- Pneumococcal and HIB, leading to meningitis, blood infections, ear infections, pneumonia, deafness, brain damage, and death.
- Rotavirus leading to dehydration.
All these vaccines are given in various doses at regular intervals.
Vaccines can cause side effects, just like any other medicines. Usually one may find mild reactions like swelling, redness at the spot where the shot was given, along with mild fever for 2 days. They happen in 1 child out of 4 with most of the childhood vaccines. Very rarely do these vaccines have severe reactions like an allergy to a substance in the vaccine. They happen one in a million shots.
One of the most important points in ensuring a child’s health is that he or she receives proper childhood vaccinations at the right time. Some parents fear the side effects of these vaccines. Most experts agree that the risks associated with vaccinations are extremely small in comparison to the risk associated with the diseases these vaccines protect against.
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