The Importance of Vaccines
Posted 3/22/2017 by UHBlog
Studies show unequivocally that childhood vaccines are safe and effective at preventing diseases, but there has been some media and misleading information around this topic that concern some parents.
“Because I am a pediatrician, mother and self-described ‘greenie,’ I think it’s important I add my voice to this topic, especially for my fellow environmentally conscious parents who may have questions or concerns about vaccines,” says pediatrician Aparna Bole, MD, who also serves as sustainability advisor at University Hospitals.
“When people ask me about vaccine safety, I try to identify what their concerns are,” she says.
Usually, the concerns fall into one of two areas:
- Overwhelming the immune system. Today’s modern vaccines expose the immune system to fewer antigens (the things that actually provoke the immune response) compared to older vaccines. That means that today’s vaccines actually are challenging our children’s immune systems with fewer antigens today than in previous generations. In addition, children from the time of birth are exposed to hundreds of viruses and antigens that are not associated with vaccination. We are born with immune systems that are designed to respond to these challenges.
- Multiple immunizations cause pain. It may be more traumatic to have one shot every month for a prolonged period rather than getting it over with as quickly as is possible.
“In my practice, the nurses who give vaccines are incredibly quick and efficient,” Dr. Bole says. Plus, she says, the CDC-recommended schedule of immunizations is proven safe and allows kids to be immunized against these illnesses at the earliest possible time, providing optimal protection to children and communities.
Vaccines not only protect us and our children, they protect the most vulnerable in our communities,” Dr. Bole says, including the very young, the very old, developing babies and other immune-compromised people.
“Vaccines are one of humankind’s greatest public health victories,” she says. “They have resulted in hundreds of thousands of lives saved.”
Aparna Bole, MD is a pediatrician at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. You can request an appointment with Dr. Bole or any other doctor online.