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  • Writer's pictureDr. Charlene Blache

Are you skeptical about vaccines?


Are vaccines safe? This is the most common question that I hear from parents who hesitate when it comes to vaccines in general or specific vaccines.


It is understandable because parents always want to do what’s best for their children and vaccines can have side-effects. Vaccine reactions are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days. Long-lasting severe side-effects are extremely rare.


Parents sometimes mention someone that they heard about who suffered a severe side-effect that is believed to be due to a vaccine. The medical details of that person’s story are usually unknown to the parent so it’s hard to say with certainty that it was vaccine-related.


Concerns about vaccine safety are more frequently expressed with newer vaccines since they have shorter track records on safety. The following are reassuring:

a) The FDA (Food and Drug Administration)

will not approve a vaccine unless it works to either prevent a disease or decrease the severity of the disease in at least 50% of subjects.

b) The FDA requires 3 phases of clinical trials, each of which tests safety and efficacy, ending with a large scale study in the third phase of roughly 30,000 volunteers from many diverse populations. No short-cuts are taken, ensuring that common side-effects are discovered before approval.

c) Rare side-effects are identified and reported through existing healthcare systems and ongoing clinical trials for additional safety and effectiveness information.


Parents who refuse or exempt vaccination commonly believe that their children have a low risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases, and that the efficacy and safety of the vaccines are low. Quite often this information is obtained from the internet, social media and groups opposed to immunization.


It is very important for parents to ask for all the information they need about the benefits and risks of vaccines. Parents have someone they can trust; their pediatrician, who is knowledgeable and can address their questions. At Southern Pediatric Clinic, parents can schedule a Telemedicine appointment with Dr Blache, to discuss specific vaccine concerns.


Below is a list of reputable sources of vaccine information:

-American Academy of Pediatrics

-CDC-INFO Contact Center

(English and Spanish)

800/232-4636 (800/CDC-INFO)

-CDC Vaccines & Immunizations

-Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine

Education Center

education-center

-Immunization Action Coalition

-Infectious Disease Society of America


Next week I will be looking at history of the MYTH that vaccines cause autism or other developmental disorders. Please join me if this is a thought that you struggle with.

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