This article is a Letter to the Editor written by Emma Davies, originally published in Daily Local News.

Parenting is like a rugged maze, always coming to make a difficult choice that will ultimately impact you and your child’s life. Some of these choices could be small choices like what color to paint the nursery, whereas others take a long hard thought. I know every parent just wants what is the best for their baby, but without taking into consideration all the real facts, you may regret your decision. This controversial decision I am referring to is whether children should be vaccinated or not.

While this may sound extreme, a parents decision to prevent their baby from getting the recommended vaccines, not only puts their child in danger of getting possibly fatal diseases, but can cause vaccinated children to become infected too. It is unfair to parents who listened to doctors strong recommendations to get their children vaccinated, to have to deal with their children having these potentially fatal diseases.

Some of these diseases don’t look too bad at first glance, but can really cause lasting effects. For example, “Measles can lead to encephalitis (swelling of the brain) in about 1 of every 1,000 individuals, possibly leading to death. Mumps can lead to sterility in adult men, swollen ovaries or breasts in adult women and miscarriage in pregnant women, as well as encephalitis. Rubella (German measles) can cause encephalitis, as well as birth defects if contracted by a pregnant woman. There is also some evidence to suggest that infection with rubella while pregnant is the cause of some cases of autism. While the majority of individuals who contract measles, mumps or rubella will survive with little or no lasting ill effects, there is still a significant risk of permanent injury or death.”(CDC)

While those of the antivax community will try to fool you with false facts, it is important to know the truth about the effects of vaccinations. A 2009 study, titled “Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case control study” examined whether there was a relationship between MMR and autism and concluded that there was no association. This study is one of the latest in the stack of evidence against a connection. In addition, “Some anti-vaxers claim there is antifreeze in vaccines. This is false. Antifreeze is ethylene glycol. Vaccines use polyethylene glycol. These are different substances, which are not toxic.

Another common myth is that you can get the flu from the vaccine. With the flu shot, that cannot happen, since the vaccine uses an inactivated virus. “The inhaled formulation uses a live, weakened virus, so it may cause mild flu-like symptoms” It is important not to fall victim to anti-vax lies, and look at the facts, there are no reasons why not to vaccinate your child, and there are several ways that it will keep them healthy.

As a parent the most important thing is your child. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) more than 3 million people die a year due to vaccine-preventable disease. It would be absolutely tragic if a child was one of the 3 million that passed, and their parents had the power to save them with a simple vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 732,000 American children were saved from death and 322 million cases of childhood illnesses were prevented between 1994 and 2014 due to vaccination. I encourage you to save you and your family from potential heartbreak and vaccinate your child.

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