Know the Risks: What Happens if You Don’t Get Your Child Vaccinated

risks and benefits of vaccines

Immunizations are among the greatest health achievements of the 20th century. Yet, despite the obvious benefits that vaccines offer, some people remain doubtful about the use of vaccines. These doubts may arise due to misconceptions from unreliable sources, personal beliefs, safety concerns, and a desire to receive more information from medical professionals. 

This National Immunization Awareness Month 2022, highlights the benefits of vaccines and addresses any concerns you may have about them. 

 

Fast Facts About Immunizations 

A vaccine helps your immune system recognize and fight off certain germs that can cause disease. Vaccines contain tiny amounts of a germ or its protein. When given to the body, they start to build up antibodies against that germ so that if your child encounters it in real life, they will have protection against disease. 

  • Thanks to immunizations, smallpox has been eradicated worldwide, rubella is no longer endemic in the United States, and polio has been generally eliminated in many countries.
  • A Lancet report finds that vaccines have prevented 37 million deaths from many vaccine-preventable diseases worldwide from 2000 to 2019, this benefit being most prominent in children, especially those under 5. 
  • In their study, vaccination against diseases like HPV, Hepa B, rotavirus, and measles gives people born in 2019 an overall 72% lower mortality rate from those diseases throughout their lifetime.
  • Similarly, the same study estimates immunizations can prevent 69 million deaths between 2000 and 2030.
  • Between 2000 and 2030, immunizations to prevent measles have the most significant impact, preventing 56 million deaths.

 

Vaccination for Children: What Happens if They Don’t Get It

Vaccine hesitancy continues to be a concern in many communities, with many parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. The term “Vaccine hesitancy” describes anyone skeptical of vaccinations and delays or refuses them even when vaccinations are widely available. But what happens if your child doesn’t get immunized?

  • Higher Risk of Contracting Diseases
  • Puts Other Children at Risk of Infection
  • Outbreaks of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Can Happen 
  • Time and Economic Losses

 

Higher Risk of Contracting Diseases

If you choose not to vaccinate your child, you’re putting them at risk for serious and potentially fatal diseases such as:

Vaccine-preventable DiseaseComplications
MeaslesPneumonia. brain swelling, brain damage, or worse, fatality. 
MumpsRare but can lead to meningitis, deafness, and swelling of the ovaries or testicles.
ChickenpoxPneumonia, encephalitis, sepsis, dehydration, bacterial infection, dehydration
Rubella (German Measles)The risks are high for pregnant women. A baby born with congenital rubella syndrome is at an increased risk of developing hearing loss, eye problems, liver disease, brain damage, and heart defects. 
PolioInfection in the spinal cord and brain that can lead to paralysis.
PertussisPneumonia; brain inflammation, seizures, and fatality are rare complications
TetanusMuscle stiffness, breathing problems, and lockjaw; rare but can be fatal
RotavirusSevere diarrhea, abdominal pain, dehydration
PneumococcalMeningitis, sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia
Meningococcal infectionMeningitis, ear infections, pneumonia, and arthritis. Rare complications include hearing loss, brain damage, and limb amputation; it can also be fatal.
Hepatitis A & Hepatitis BLiver damage
HibDamage to the brain, hearing loss, and Hib can be fatal as well
InfluenzaHospitalization, pneumonia, sinusitis, ear infections  
DiphtheriaFailure of the heart, paralysis, and it can be fatal.

 

Puts Other Children at Risk of Infection

Unvaccinated children put other people at risk of infection. This can lead to serious health complications for children who cannot receive vaccinations, including immunocompromised individuals and young babies who cannot be vaccinated.

 

Outbreaks of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Can Happen 

Immunocompromised people rely on “herd immunity” — when most people in a community are immune to a disease, it’s harder for it to spread. But when herd immunity breaks down because not enough people are vaccinated against certain diseases, outbreaks can happen more easily. That’s why everyone who can get immunized should do so to protect those most vulnerable to these diseases.

 

Time and Economic Losses

If your child catches a vaccine-preventable disease and becomes ill, they might need to go to a hospital for treatment or stay home from school. This means that other parents will have to take time off work to care for their sick children instead of going to work themselves, costing businesses money and disrupting the economy.

 

What Vaccines Does My Child Need?

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that children receive a full course of vaccinations. The first dose of each vaccine is given at birth or age two months, with additional doses needed to complete the series. Below is a list of vaccinations recommended for children from birth to 18 years.

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTaP) vaccine
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
  • Influenza (flu) vaccine
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) Vaccination
  • MCV4 (meningococcal) Vaccination
  • Meningococcal B Vaccination
  • Varicella (VAR) – chickenpox
  • HepA Vaccination
  • HepB Vaccination
  • Rotavirus Vaccination
  • PCV13 (pneumococcal 13) Vaccination

Check the Recommended Immunization Schedule for Child and Adolescents in the US for 2022

 

FAQs about Child Immunization

As parents, it’s natural to have questions about vaccines. This section will answer some of the most common questions about the risks and benefits of vaccines.

 

1. What if I choose not to have a vaccine?

The decision not to vaccinate your child is a personal one. But know that it also carries many risks that may be detrimental to your child and the community’s health. Read more information about the importance of vaccines

 

2. What are the risks of vaccines

Vaccine risks for kids are rare. A few side effects can occur after a vaccine, but they’re usually mild and go away quickly. These side effects include low-grade fever, swelling, and redness on the injection site. If your child suffers from a serious allergy to gelatin, eggs, or neomycin, they may be at risk for a reaction if they get an injectable vaccine. Talk to your child’s doctor about such allergies before vaccinating them. 

 

3. Do vaccines cause autism?

There is some concern among parents that vaccines could cause autism, but vaccines DO NOT cause it or any other developmental disabilities. Many scientific studies have thoroughly debunked this myth.

 

4. How safe is the vaccine?

Doctors and researchers constantly monitor vaccine safety. All vaccines undergo extensive safety testing before being approved for use in the United States, with continuous monitoring by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and independent organizations following their release to the market.

 

5. Is it safe for a child to receive so many vaccines at once?

Yes. Simultaneous vaccination with multiple vaccines has no adverse effect on the normal childhood immune system. A baby’s immune system can handle more than you might realize. Their immunity system can fight germs far outnumber those they receive from vaccines. As a matter of fact, vaccines contain only a tiny fraction of the bacteria babies have exposure to every day.

 

Get Vaccinated for a Healthier Future!

Vaccines are safe and work with your child’s immune system to help keep your child healthy. The best way to ensure your child gets all recommended vaccines on time is by regularly visiting their doctor or clinic throughout infancy and childhood.

If your child is behind on their immunization schedules, contact us right away here at CMCFresno! Let’s spread the benefits of immunizations even beyond immunization awareness month. Please save this article and share it with your family and friends.