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Why You Should Vaccinate Your Children ... and Yourself

by Allen B. Ury

Vaccines have been controversial ever since Britain's Edward Jenner developed one for smallpox in the early 19th century. Anti-vaccination forces have argued vaccines are dangerous, that they can actually cause disease, or cause autism and mental retardation. Or that vaccines violate personal liberty, are "un-Christian," or are a scam by profit-hungry researchers and pharmaceutical companies.

The fear that vaccines will make people sick, make them autistic, or that they are a government plot to control the population, have convinced many parents to refuse vaccinations for their children -- and for themselves. As a result, diseases we thought were conquered a long time ago like diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), mumps and measles have made a comeback.

When it comes to public health -- and the health of your family -- you need to act from knowledge, not fear.

Here are six reasons why you should vaccinate your children -- and yourself:

1. Vaccinations are effective. Vaccines given in early childhood are 85 percent to 95 percent effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control.[1] Due to variations in human biology, no vaccine will be 100-percent effective in all people. But the odds that your child will develop immunity to a given disease are very, very high.

2. Risks are low. For childhood immunizations, typical side effects can include redness and tenderness around injection areas and/or low-grade fevers. Both of these are usually short-term. In rare cases, high fevers, blistering or even seizures can occur. Severe reactions are considered so rare as to be impossible to statistically calculate.[2] No, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism or mental retardation in children. And getting a vaccine doesn't give you a disease, either (e.g., you can get the flu from a flu shot).

3. "Old" diseases are not yet dead. Some people think that because so many people have been vaccinated against "old" diseases like diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, tuberculosis, etc., that the viruses that cause these illnesses are no longer around. That's not true. With the exception of smallpox, which is believed to have been close to 100 percent eradicated, all of these "golden oldies" are still around. And because many people still fear vaccines, they're starting to make a comeback. For example, in 2010, California alone saw 7,800 cases of whopping cough, resulting in 10 deaths.[3] In the first half of 2013, the U.S. as a whole reported 159 cases of measles, a disease once believed eradicated.[4] Even polio has returned to the Middle East, and experts fear it will travel to Europe and then to the United States.[5]

4. Getting sick is no fun. When you don't immunize your children, you run the risk they will contract any number of preventable illnesses. At best, coming down with one of these diseases will be unpleasant and seriously disrupt your household/work/school routine. They can even lead to permanent organ damage, disability and death.

5. Failure to immunize puts others at risk. When you don't immunize your children, you don't just put your family at risk, but your entire community as well. If your child gets ill, he/she and other family members can easily spread the disease to others. And not just to other unimmunized people, but even people who have been immunized. (Remember, even the best of vaccines are not 100-percent effective.)

6. Fighting disease is a community effort. If The Three Musketeers' classic cry, "All for one, and one for all!" has any meaning in the real world, it's disease prevention. Fighting illness is a community effort that requires 100 percent participation to be effective. People who think they are immune, are afraid, or reject disease-prevention efforts for personal, political or even religious reasons put their friends, neighbors and everyone with whom they come in contact at risk.

In most states, medical assistants can administer vaccines to patients, including children, as long as the supervising physician is on the premises. As a student in Everest's Medical Assistant career education program, you will learn the art and science of preparing and administering injections, including vaccines, quickly as with minimal discomfort.

For more information on Everest's Medical Assistant program, just complete and submit the Request More Information form on this page. A friendly Everest representative will get back to you immediately to answer all your questions.

Financial aid is available for those who qualify.


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