I think it's important to understand a couple of concepts when it comes to immunizations. First of all, we are talking about the health of the individual and trying to prevent certain illnesses. Most of the vaccinations that kids get these days are for diseases that are very uncommon now because of the vaccine programs (although that's not true for all of them).
The other important thing to understand is that it's an issue of public health. The more individuals that are immunized, the less prevalent the disease is going to be in the community. So when I talk to parents and they have concerns about whether to immunize, I point out the fact that they can make an informed decision not to immunize because they benefit from the fact that most other people have immunized their children. It's a concept called herd immunity, where if the incidence of disease is low, then your risk is going to be low. The issue, as far as the actual benefit gained from immunization for that individual child, particularly in the first year of life, is related to the potential for serious bacterial infections.
So the guidelines that we follow for immunization schedules are exactly that: They are guidelines. They are strongly recommended, strongly encouraged, but there is nothing mandatory about immunizing yourself or your child. It's just important that you make an informed decision and that you understand all the aspects of that decision. If you feel that you have done your research and you're still uncomfortable with the idea of immunizations, then that is a perfect opportunity to sit down with your own personal physician and discuss those concerns and resolve those conflicts.
I think it's important to understand a couple of concepts when it
comes to immunizations. First of all, we are talking about the
health of the individual and trying to prevent certain illnesses.
Most of the vaccinations that kids get these... More