Vaccines: Research Questions and Sources

Should you vaccinate?

Whether or not to vaccinate is a truly personal decision, which each family must make.  There are a lot of factors involved in making such an important decision, and it’s not as cut-and-fried as it appears to be in many mainstream sources.  There’s definite risk involved in both getting vaccines and skipping them, and parents need to be comfortable with the risk that they’re accepting for their family.

Today I’m not drawing any conclusions (although you can read why we don’t vaccinate if you’re curious).  I’m going to give you a series of questions to ask during research or to take to your child’s doctor.  I’ll also provide several sources for finding answers to these questions, in addition to seeking guidance from health care practitioners.  Hopefully, this will give you a good place to start in your research.

For each vaccine:

1. How does it work?

2. What is the effectiveness?  After 1 dose?  After all the recommended doses?  Are there studies proving this?  Who did the studies, and is there any conflicting data?

3. How long does protection last?  When are boosters recommended and how many?  Are there studies proving this?  Who did the studies, and is there any conflicting data?

4. What risks are involved?  How frequently do they occur?  How do I recognize them if they happen?  What do I do about them?

5. What reports are in the VAERS database for this vaccine?

6. What are the ingredients in this vaccine?  Are there any medical indications my child shouldn’t have it?  Allergy concerns or other?

7. How long has this vaccine, the version that will be used on my child, been in use?  Would you (doctor) consider it relatively safe?  How often do you use this and how long have you personally used it in your practice?

8. Why was this vaccine developed?  Why is it on the childhood schedule?

9. Do you have any reservations about this vaccine at all?  Would or do you get it for your children? (Ask your doctor)

Disease questions:

1. How common was this disease before the vaccine?  What percent of those people suffered severe complications or death?

2. What is the usual course of this disease?

3. What are the current rates of complications, in a developed country with access to medical care?  What increases the likelihood of complications (health conditions, vitamin deficiencies, etc.)?

4. Is there any known benefit to my child actually having this disease?

5. Is my child actually at risk of contracting this disease at this time?  Is this disease contagious in typical ways (i.e. through casual contact; not bodily fluids)?

Sources:

Hopefully, there are some good places to start your research.  Plenty of different sources and perspectives are covered.  As always, don’t forget to talk to your doctor.

Top image by UNICEF Sverage

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