MARQUETTE– Getting your kids ready for the new school year can be a busy time for parents and for many kids preparing to go back to school includes a doctor visit. This week’s ABC10 feature story determines vaccine fact verse fiction.
According to vaccines.gov, vaccines are your best shot at good health. A clever slogan but according to doctors it’s also true Although the decision is in your hands whether to vaccinate your child, others in the community are relying on you to make the appointment.
“I would recommend that everybody get vaccines because it prevents the spread of these diseases that can be preventable,” Dr. Cara Crawford-Bartle said. “It’s not only for those that are healthy it’ primarily for those who cannot get vaccinated because they have a problem with their immune system.”
According to the Center of Disease Control when bacteria invade your body, it attacks and multiplies– creating infection causing illnesses for your immune system to fight. Afterwards the body is left with a supply of cells that help recognize and fight that disease in the future. Vaccines help by imitating this infection, but the “imitation” infection does not cause illness. It allows the immune system to develop the same response as it does to a real infection so the body can recognize and fight a preventable disease. In recent years some claims have been made against vaccines causing an anti vaccine movement.
“A lot of people are afraid of thimerosal or mercury,” Crawford-Bartle said. “There was a study done many decades ago by a gentleman that said that vaccines cause autism and the components in them like mercury are harmful. It has since been disproven has since been disproven that vaccines cause autism there is no link.”
Thimerosal is an additive in vaccines to prevent germs from growing in them. But thimerosal is a type of mercury which has given some parents negative feelings towards the additive. According to the CDC no studies have found any evidence that thimerosal is unsafe. This additive is now only used in some flu shots.
“There are some people that choose to spread out their vaccines for their kids because they feel; that it’s safer on the immune system, they don’t want to put too much stress on the child at any one time,” Crawford-Bartle said. “But we’ve been providing these multiple vaccines at a time for many years.”
Some vaccines are offered as combination vaccines in order to reduce the number of shots your child receives during their visit. According to Ivaccinate.org only 56% of toddlers are up to date on their vaccinations. In recent years the anti–vaccine movement has caused outbreaks across the United States, even in Michigan. Just this May in Minnesota 48 people were affected with measles. Many health professionals blame vaccine misconceptions on misinformation from the internet and social media.
“I wouldn’t necessarily trust a blog from someone, somewhere,” Crawford-Bartle said. “Fear tactics can be pretty strong and especially as parents we want to avoid that one-in-a-thousand chance for our kids, but it’s very important to make sure that we’re using creditable resources.”
To get the facts on vaccines visit the CDC.gov. Our state website also has information on vaccinations. There are no alternative facts just as there are no alternative to vaccinations.