New parents face many daunting tasks, including protecting their little ones from all those germs out there.
As a doctor, I’ve heard parents express many reasons for delaying or refusing vaccinations for their children. Many think modern sanitation protects us from old diseases like polio and measles. Some worry that there are “just too many shots” for their infant’s immune system. Others have heard rumors that vaccines cause autism.
But the rumors about vaccines and autism are based on the fact that many children are identified as autistic during the 15 – 24 month age range, which is also when most children receive their measles vaccine. The association has been proven false over and over again in large medical studies with hundreds of thousands of children. Because we don’t understand what causes autism, it became easy to blame the vaccine.
Remember, shots are not just for kids. I tell my patients, next time you use a grocery cart at Kroger, think about the last person who used it. Adults need a tetanus booster every 10 years, and older adults need vaccines against pneumonia and shingles.
Ask your health care provider about what shots you might need, and encourage your family members and loved ones to do the same.
This is Dr. Susan Nelson for Church Health.