Facts about Vaccines
Vaccinating is the right choiceToday’s parents face a myriad of challenges in raising children. There is much information online about vaccines. Some parents question the need to vaccinate or the number of vaccines that their infants and small children need to be adequately protected.
About this page
This webpage is designed to answer parents’ questions about vaccinating their children.
The resources on this page include: current news and views on vaccines, blogs, videos, tips and tools, and more. They'll help you keep up with vaccinations and make vaccinating your child less stressful.
The importance of trusted sources and scientific evidence
With so much information about health and wellness on the Internet, it’s not always easy to determine what is really true. The term “evidence-based” is used in public health and medicine today. It refers to practices, policies and interventions that have been rigorously reviewed and determined by scientific studies to produce the best outcomes for patients and populations. Trusted sources rely on evidence-based information.
Vaccine-preventable diseases are still with us
Most parents today have never seen first-hand the devastating consequences that vaccine-preventable diseases can have on a child, a family, or community. Thanks to vaccines, many of these diseases are not common in the U.S. However, they persist around the world and with global travel can reach our community overnight.
Measles, Whooping Cough, and many more potentially life-threatening diseases are still out there
In fact, outbreaks of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) have been reported in the news especially during the last few years. Measles and outbreaks of whooping cough (pertussis) have occurred in Sarasota County and have been linked to individuals who were not vaccinated or updated on their vaccines.
The 2009 outbreak in Sarasota County resulted in 20 individuals coming down with whooping cough, which can be fatal in children who are too young to get vaccinated. This compares to four people in 2010 and seven in 2011.
Examples of recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases:
- Whooping Cough Outbreak Fuled by Vaccination Refusals- ABC News - 2013
- Whooping cough outbreak in Tampa Bay- WTSP 10 News Tampa - 2012
Vaccines - the power to protect
Immunizations are still the best way to protect your children from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases. Click here to learn about these vaccine-preventable diseases:
Public health officials encourage parents to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommended immunization schedule:
- Immunization Schedules - CDC
Risks of not vaccinating
Missing or Delaying Vaccines can put your child at risk
Vaccine-preventable diseases are a very real threat to children who are not properly protected. Children in day care and school settings are required to get vaccinations because outbreaks of disease can happen very quickly, leaving children who live with asthma, diabetes and other chronic health conditions vulnerable to serious complications.
- Victims of Vaccine-Preventable Disease - Every Child by Two
Each year children do get sick, and some of them die, from illnesses such as influenza (flu), pertussis and meningitis. Parents who have lost children to these devastating, avoidable diseases share their stories on the linked webpage.
Why so many vaccines?
It is true that children today are protected against more diseases than they were 20 years ago. There are now vaccines available that are proven effective in protecting against 14 different diseases. The DOH-Sarasota follows the CDC vaccination schedule because it is carefully designed to protect children at the time when they are most vulnerable to diseases.
- Too Many Vaccines? - Every Child By Two
For parents who may worry that vaccination schedules recommend "too many" vaccines "too soon", the linked webpage gives evidence showing that children's immune systems can accommodate the recommended schedule.
The CDC works closely with public health agencies and private organizations to monitor the safety of vaccines. DOH-Sarasota's staff regularly receives information and training on the latest in vaccine technology and learns about the rationale for the current vaccine schedule. With continued advances in technology, it takes a smaller dose of vaccine to generate immunity from the diseases they are designed to protect.
As with all medication, there is always a slight risk of side effects; however, the CDC works closely with public health agencies and private partners to maximize immunization coverage while monitoring the safety of vaccines. The most common side effects are redness at the site of the shot and a low-grade fever.
Read more about vaccine safety:
- Invisible Threat movie trailer
- Are They Safe? - Vaccinate Your Baby
- Vaccine safety-related issues - CDC
- Shot of Prevention blog
A forum for the public and vaccine advocates to discuss news and views on vaccines
- Completely Avoidable: Vaccination could have prevented Disneyland measles
outbreak – PBS News Hour - 2015
- Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases (PKids) Blog
- PKids Videos - Watch and share these powerful stories of eight families affected by vaccine-preventable diseases
- Video: Early Childhood Immunization - Florida Bureau of Immunization
No vaccine connection to autism
The number of children affected by autism has been on the rise and is a great concern. Over two dozen scientific studies have been conducted over many years to determine if there is a cause and effect relationship between vaccines and autism.
There is no scientific evidence linking vaccines with the cause of autism.
This has been supported by:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- National Institutes of Health
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Institute of Medicine
What about Thimerosal?
Since 2002, a preservative known as thimerosal which contains minute quantities of mercury (the equivalent is less mercury than is in a can of tuna) has been removed or reduced to trace amounts from most childhood vaccines. Autism has continued to increase even though thimerosal has been removed from vaccines.
Studies are underway to find the cause of autism. The Autism Science Foundation is examining a number of genetic factors that may be implicated in the increase in autism spectrum disorder.
Vaccines are critical to maintaining health and wellbeing. Choosing not to vaccinate does not protect infants and children against autism but it does leave them vulnerable to diseases. These diseases can result in expensive hospitalization, permanent disabilities and even death.
- CNN: "Study: No link between measles vaccine and autism"
- Frontline (PBS): "The Vaccine War"
- Autism Science Foundation
Choose immunization: safe, proven protection
The CDC recently launched a new website designed with input from parents of babies and toddlers. This site features easy-to-find vaccine information, including:
- For Parents: Vaccines for Your Children
- How to Hold Children during Vaccinations
- Infant Immunization FAQs
Fact sheets on specific vaccine preventable diseases:
Vaccines can protect your child from the serious diseases listed below. Click for more information from the Immunization Action Coalition about each vaccine preventable disease:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Influenza (Flu)
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
- Whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria (TDaP)
Additional resources from trusted sources: