Medical Offices of Manhattan’s cardiologist, Robert Segal, MD speaks to NYMetroParents about the common misconceptions about vaccines.

What are some common misconceptions about vaccines/ what drives parents to believe them?

One popular misconception regarding vaccines is that those who become vaccinated are the ones who contract the disease the vaccination is supposed to fight off. Vaccinations are in fact only 85% to 95% effective. Thus, when there is an outbreak, it is possible that someone vaccinated will also get infected.

Another popular misconception is that vaccines cause autism, the MMR vaccine in particular. This was popularized by a British surgeon named Andrew Wakefield when he published his theory in a well-known medical journal. This theory took traction, despite studies proving it to be incorrect and even after Dr. Wakefield lost his medical license.

He’s quoted saying:

Another upsetting truth? Not all children will develop immunity after vaccination, according to Robert Segal, M.D., founder of Medical Offices of Manhattan. However, this does not discount the fact that 85-95 percent of children do. And finally, “in very rare cases, vaccines can cause allergic reactions. It’s important that parents tell their doctor of any history of allergies,” Dr. Segal advises.

While vaccines are not perfect, they are still widely administered. In fact, in light of the recent measles outbreak, the list of doctor’s offices, daycares, schools, and other children’s facilities that will exclude your child if unvaccinated is growing, according to Dr. Segal.

 

What are some truths about vaccines that may concern parents?

Not all children will develop immunity after being vaccinated, but that does not discount the fact the 85% to 95% develop immunity. In very rare cases, vaccines can cause allergic reactions. It’s important that parents tell their doctor of any history of allergies.

 

What are the most common reasons parents choose not to vaccinate their children?

  • Vaccines cause autism
  • Religious reasons
  • Fear of side effects
  • The rarity of certain diseases
  • Wariness of big pharmaceuticals’ money-making schemes

 

What are the risks of not vaccinating your children?

There are several risks involved and the most important one would be the lack of protection from diseases that could be avoided. Some of these diseases are deadly or could leave lasting scars. The other risk would be spreading the disease to children and adults with a weak immune system who cannot be vaccinated (i.e: individuals undergoing chemotherapy).

 

What are some of the places that may exclude your child if you forego vaccination?

There are daycare centers that will not take your child if your child is unvaccinated. Some schools would exclude your child, especially if there is an outbreak.

 

What sort of risks are you imposing on other children by not vaccinating yours?

Some children cannot get vaccinated due to age or if they suffer from certain medical conditions. The only way to protect them is herd immunity. If your child is unvaccinated and contracts a disease, your child could be the reason why a child with cancer, for example, will contract the disease as well.

 

How has the measles vaccine schedule changed in the last 10 years, if at all?

It has not. The last important change was made in 1989 when the second dose was introduced to help with immunity.

 

If you are hesitant to vaccinate your child, are there certain vaccinations that are okay to ‘skip’ or are all vaccinations recommended?

All vaccinations are recommended because skipping even one would leave your child unprotected. If you have reservations, talk to your child’s doctor to discuss your options.

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