You’ve likely heard to recent debates surrounding pediatric vaccines. From claims that they cause autism to uncertainty as to why they’re needed, many new questions have worked their way to the surface of the conversation. If you’re a parent or caregiver, it’s important that you understand why vaccines matter, how they work, and if they’re truly safe or not.

What are Pediatric Vaccines?

Pediatric vaccines are vaccinations given to infants and children, starting at birth. The vaccines are administered on a recommended schedule as the child ages that ensures the safety of the patient receiving them.

These vaccines protect against diseases such as measles, mumps, whooping cough, and much more. Many pediatric vaccinations only have to be administered once, while others, such as the flu vaccine, require regular administration. Vaccines can be given through a shot or nasal spray depending on the age and needs of the child at hand.

Are Vaccines Safe?

Vaccinations work by introducing a small amount of a disease into the body in a dead form, allowing the body to form natural antibodies against that disease. This process may sound scary, but it’s 100% safe. There are little to side effects associated with pediatric vaccines and no long-term risks. Claims that vaccines can cause autism and other conditions are completely false and not backed by any real evidence.

Why Do Vaccines Matter?

Pediatric vaccinations have been around for many generations and they’ve helped to prevent the spread of many harmful diseases. Diseases that once claimed the lives of children are now eradicated, thanks to the use of pediatric vaccinations. Vaccinations depend on something referred to as herd immunity.

This means that when the majority of the “herd” is vaccinated, the entirety is protected. Recent trends of parents choosing not to vaccinate has jeopardized herd immunity for the first time in decades. The belief that vaccinations are no longer needed for eradicated diseases, such as polio, is a flawed way to think.

The reason the disease has stayed dormant for so long is because of vaccinations and going back to a society that doesn’t use those vaccinations means the disease will ultimately return.

The safety of not only your child, but everyone around them, depends on pediatric vaccinations being administered according to the CDC recommended schedule. If you have questions or concerns about pediatric vaccinations, have a conversation with your child’s pediatrician to go over safe vaccination practices.