This op-ed by Juliet Damon appeared in The Brunswick News. Read the full story here.

Vaccinations do not cause autism. They do, however, prevent the development and transmission of fatal diseases and save millions of lives every year. Yet, for some reason, there is still a debate.

Immunization can save your child’s life, and the life of a child they may come in contact with. It protects the health of the community.

The first time a child is exposed to a virus, the body starts to create antibodies to fight off the virus. This is not a fast process and usually the body cannot work fast enough to prevent the harmful effects of the virus. While there may be very rare and isolated cases involving children who experienced adverse reactions to certain vaccinations, it all comes down to a risk/benefit analysis. The odds of an individual experiencing adverse reactions are slim. The odds of that reaction causing permanent and irreparable harm are even more likely. Among the most commonly reported adverse reactions is the premature development of arthritis, which in my opinion is a small price to pay for a vaccination that prevents horrific and fatal diseases.

Vaccines are not given negligently. They are only administered by educated professionals after long and careful review. Vaccines are the safest and most effective option for a long, healthy life.