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Study finds vaccination benefits outweigh risks

CHRISTIE NICHOLAS/TheThreefoldAdvocate
Most Americans support child vaccination, according to the Pew poll.

Many Americans continue to support required vaccines despite possible risks, according to a new study by Pew Research Center.

After extensive research, Pew reported that “[Parents] see high preventive health benefits of such vaccines, and low risk of side effects, and they consider the benefits of the vaccine to outweigh the risks.”

When vaccinating young children for measles, mumps and rubella, there are major and minor side affects for parents to consider.

Professor of biology Joel Funk said some risks of vaccines include: redness and swelling at the site of the injection, fever, chills and muscle soreness. Allergic reactions or life- threatening complications from vaccinations are “extremely rare.”

During the last two decades, an increase in autism sparked public concern. Many published studies showed that autism can be linked to vaccinations.

A well-known study, published in 1998, found that eight children developed autistic symptoms after receiving an MMR vaccine. This study, and those like it, have since been retracted, Funk said.

“Despite assurance of vaccine safety from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and a host of other scientific bodies that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine does not cause autism, a number of prominent figures have expressed concerns about the safety of childhood vaccines” Pew Research Center reported. 

Funk said he believes that deadly diseases can be prevented if people follow vaccination regulations. 

“Lack of proper immunization within the public can impact all of us,” Patsy Cornelius, professor of nursing education, said.

“It is not only important for children attending public and private schools to be vaccinated, it is important for all people to receive proper immunization and boosters in an effort to prevent various diseases.”

According to Pew, 82 percent of Americans support requiring healthy children to be vaccinated. Sixty-six percent believe there is a low risk of side effects from the vaccine.

Cornelius said it is because of “widespread vaccinations” that the U.S. has been able to eliminate deadly disease such as polio.

Though many diseases targeted by vaccines are uncommon in the U.S. today the need to prevent those diseases remains necessary.

“‘Uncommon,’ connotes the disease still exists. With world travel being so common, visitors from a country where the virus still exists and who have the virus can infect anyone who has either not been vaccinated or whose vaccinations are not up-to-date” Cornelius said.

There are several groups concerned about the safety of vaccines. Foremost among them are parents of children newborn to four who have recently faced or will soon face a decision about whether to follow the recommended immunization schedule, Pew reported.