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The pros and cons of child immunisation

A tricky decision - the advantages and disadvantages of childhood immunisation explored
Childhood immunisations are common and important in keeping your baby healthy during the first few years of their life; however the physical and emotional affects on a child both during and after vaccinations have led some parents to steer away from, and skip many of these.

So here's the lowdown on immunisations; the effects, the advantages, the cons, and why some parents chose not to take up the option.

Globally, 13 million people die from infectious disease every year with over half these being children under the age of five. It is argued that with immunisation, most of these deaths could be prevented. There are nine routinely offered immunisations for babies within the UK, although offered at different ages, most are recommended to be issued at different intervals during the first year of life, either at 8, 12 or 16 weeks; with measles, mumps and rubella vaccinated against at either 12 or 15 months old. Immunising your child against diseases such as diphtheria, polio and mumps at a young age can be hugely beneficial for your child's health, both within their first year of life and in later years for several reasons. By vaccinating you can, to a certain extent, eradicate life-threatening illnesses and diseases from your babies' life. For example in most normal cases of child immunisation, once vaccinated your child should be given lifelong protection from polio, with probable lifelong protection against measles, mumps, rubella and meningitis C.

The immunisations that are offered, in theory, offer ten year protection against diphtheria and tetanus, with a three year shield form whooping cough. However with some, such as whooping cough, children who catch it later in life will experience a much milder form than those not vaccinated in their early years. Most vaccinations are given by an injection into the child and are relatively pain free, especially at such a young age, when resistance by your child is low. Also, by vaccinating your child before they start pre-school or nursery, diseases that are contagious can be kept at bay, which alongside being beneficial for your child, can have a positive affect on the wider community of your area. It is argued that the benefits of childhood immunisation far outweigh the relatively small risks of the side effects of such injections.

However, although it is recommended that children be vaccinated against most infectious and contagious diseases, some parents chose to opt out of immunising their children; this is done for several reasons and is justified by several ways of thinking. Immunisations, although researched thoroughly around the world can never be 100% fool proof, and although incidences of allergic reactions to these jabs are extremely low, they do occasionally occur. It is also argued that it is better and more beneficial for the child to catch the natural form of the disease as the immunity a person gets from experiencing the natural infection is likely to last for life, as opposed to a time limit that an immunisation is restricted to. However, the risks of complication when the natural form of the disease is caught are far higher than those associated with effects from the vaccine.

There is also the problem of the child not accepting the vaccine and there are two main reasons for this; either it has not been stored correctly and has lost it's strength, or the child simply does not 'take' to the vaccine and is not compatible. Because of this some parents see the trauma and experience of vaccinations not worth the risk, opting to let their children catch the natural form of many diseases, dealing with the consequences and effects afterwards; allocating their children lifelong immunity from many diseases, immunity that immunisations and vaccinations simply do not offer.

Immunisation is clearly a wide-ranging topic, there are strong arguments for and against immunising your child; arguments you need to take into account when thinking about vaccinations. Your doctor and health centre can help you come to a decision about immunising, but ultimately the decision is yours; exploring your options thoroughly will make this important decision a lot easier on both you and your child.
Author : Elizabeth Stansfield

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My child at four months didnt hav eczema but we tried some baby bath products and that triggered it, at three we finally hav it under control tho my mother is adamant all six of us had it at birth but got rid of it by five and now only my youngest brother still has it. the aqueous cream the doctor prescribed which we covered him head to toe we were told six months ago made it worse but we didnt know because he had good and bad days. it was good for washing but wasnt to be left on which a visiting dermatologist told them.he now has cetraben and it is almost gone.we still have to use it daily but the sores are all gone. A four month old child died in Australia and they proved because people thought that because the disease was gone they didnt need to immunise so this baby died because people wouldnt immunise and to make it worse her parents were hounded by anti immunisation groups who were eventually jailed for their actions.the baby would have been immunised at six months otherwise but at four months she was too young.people think these disesases are gone but they are not and the children not protected will be the ones who live with the gamble .
by suzi2 12th Aug 2010, 10:19am
If the mother is has Heppatitis B should the baby have a vaccine for protection?
by Habaree 19th Oct 2009, 10:25am
my child had immunisation and had a reaction from it which made his beautifull skin awfull. doctors describe it as eczema and say its normal and it will go away till the age of 5. he didint had eczema when he was born but when he got immunised at 4 months he started getting rash on his whole body and has still got it he is now 18 months old. nothing cures his skin tried all sorts of stuff he is getting treated by a homeopathic doctor now. immunisation works on some children but not all children so you should think before getting them immunised i am now pregnant and i will definately not immunise my second child because there is a probabliity that he would get bad reactions from it. i cant describe what my feelings are my child cant sleep all night because of itching he has to avoid sweets and dairy products drinks goats milk not coes milk because it makes it worse he has to sleep with me because i have to put cream on his body at night about 2-3 times and make him stop scratching his skin he scratches very bad. all i want to say is if your family has a history of eczema then plz dont get your child immunised this is my opinion the rest is up to you.
by sery 18th Aug 2009, 9:23am
Hi
My beautiful baby boy is almost 5 months old and I have still yet to have his immunisations done. I know that they are an important part of his life to protect against sickness and disease expecially meningacocal but I cant help being concerned that my child maybe 1 of the children that react terribly to the vaccines. I am so confused as to come to a decision and would love advice or others opinions from those who are with the immunisation idea and for those who are against it.
by tntewiki 27th Mar 2009, 9:18am

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