The Side Effects
Most (if not all) parents are well aware that vaccines have the potential to cause side effects as well as protective immunity. Fortunately, most of these side effects are relatively mild – such as soreness and/or redness at the site, low-grade fever and irritability. But a few can be more serious, and even though the risk is quite low, this fact of childhood vaccination is what most often concerns parents. After all, the last thing any of us want to do is knowingly put our children in harm's way.
That leaves parents faced with the decision of whether or not they are willing to accept this small but real risk and vaccinate their children. Granted it is very hard to sit down and listen to a health care professional describe all of the possible side effects that can occur after a vaccine and then allow your child to receive as many as four shots at one visit. But one of the most important and often forgotten factors in making this decision is what risks the actual disease or infection itself poses. To consider whether vaccines are a risk worth taking, we must first take a look at the diseases they are preventing.