When we debate the pros and cons of immunizing our children, the facts about vaccines sometimes get lost. For instance, it is true that getting vaccinated will never be completely risk-free:
- Almost all vaccinated children will have some pain or redness at the injection site.
- Nearly all children cry when getting shots.
- Some vaccines cause fevers.
- And yes, in extremely rare cases, more serious side effects may occur.
But, like driving a car or playing on a swing set, we do things with confidence when very small risks are balanced out by very big rewards.
When doctors, nurses, scientists, public health advocates and policymakers say vaccines are safe, they are saying the benefits of all recommended vaccines clearly and definitely outweigh their risks.
How can we say vaccines are safe?
- Vaccines are made safely and tested thoroughly, over and over again.
Vaccines are made using the virus or bacteria that causes disease – but always in a form that is safe for your children. Every vaccine is tested over many years before being approved for use with children, and every vaccine is constantly monitored for safety through federal reporting systems and scientific studies. There’s even a national database called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, where parents and doctors can report any bad reactions to a vaccine right away. The CDC’s Journey of Your Child’s Vaccine shows how vaccines are developed, approved and manufactured.
- Vaccines give children a safe head start on fighting dangerous diseases.
Babies are completely protected from bacteria and viruses in their mother’s womb. As soon as they are born, they are exposed to thousands of bacteria – and begin developing an active immune response right away. The vaccines children are given before the age of two are nothing compared to the bacteria they fight off every single day. But by exposing them to specific diseases through vaccines, we help their immune systems get stronger by safely practicing fighting off the diseases that could hurt them the most. Learn more about how vaccinations work.
- The ingredients in vaccines are safe for children.
Ingredients in vaccines like aluminum and formaldehyde concern many parents. These additives make up a very tiny part of the vaccines they are used in. They are necessary to keep the vaccine working well and have been proven safe for kids.
“Some parents are worried about thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury. Thimerosal has been removed from all childhood vaccines since 1997, except multiple vials of the flu vaccine, even though it was found to be safe and does not cause autism. Learn more about the ingredients in vaccines.”
Maine families trust Vax Maine Kids for the truth about vaccines, and the truth is that vaccines are safe.