The CDC, AAP and most pediatricians agree that vaccinations are a safe and important part of childhood wellness. A link between autism and vaccinations has never been proven, and while research is always ongoing, most experts concur that the benefit of the shots—protection from a number of harmful and potentially deadly diseases—is well worth the minor risk that something might go wrong with an inoculation.
Some parents also argue that dangerous chemicals are found in vaccines, which is true. But they’re there in very small amounts—amounts so small, in fact, that they cannot be considered a risk. Mercury, which was a concern for many parents at one time, has not been used as a preservative in routine vaccinations since 2001 (with the exception of some flu vaccines). If you are concerned about the number of inoculations your child receives in the first year of life, or feel that too many are given at any one visit, talk to your pediatrician about designing an alternate timeline for your infant’s shots. What’s key here is talking to a medical professional to get accurate information. Voice your concerns to a trusted healthcare provider and know the facts before making a decision regarding your child’s health.
So what exactly are these vaccines protecting against? While some, such as hepatitis A and B, are self-explanatory, others might not be so obvious. Here’s a guide:
- DTaP: Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis
- Hib: Haemophilus influenza type b
- IPV: Inactivated poliovirus
- PCV: Pneumococcal (think meningitis)
- RV: Rotavirus
- MMR: Measles, mumps and rubella
- Varicella: Chickenpox