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Pros, cons of infant immunizations

By Jie Yin, Contributing writer
Published On: Jun 25 2013 02:48:11 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 08 2013 08:57:38 AM CDT
Pediatrician

Babies are extremely vulnerable to viruses. Infant vaccinations protect babies from a variety of serious diseases, but some parents are concerned about whether the vaccines should be given so early. Here are some pros and cons of infant immunizations.

 

Pros: Provide antigens for vulnerable infants

Diseases the vaccines are meant to prevent are most likely to occur on infants. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  an estimated 17,000 cases of severe types of pneumococcal infections, like meningitis, develop in children each year.  Infant vaccines provide the baby with controlled antigens so that its body can create the antibodies to protect against certain diseases. Research shows that children under age of 2 are at higher risk of being infected than older children, according to a study published on American Academy of Pediatrics. An infant vaccine eliminates the risk as early as possible.

Some symptoms of the diseases, such as whooping cough, are especially strong in the young children, according to CDC. For example, HIB is a common disease among babies and children younger than 5 years old, according to the CDC. The vaccines protect the infants against bacterial meningitis, which can lead to brain damage, deafness and even death.

It may be too late if parents postpone the vaccines until the child is older.

Cons of infant immunization: Side effects

However, each vaccine may have certain side effects, just like any medication. According to CDC, these side effects include the soreness on the shot spot, fussiness, low-grade fever and redness on skin. Most of these effects are very minor and short-lived (usually go away in 3-5 days). Serious reactions such as severe allergic reaction are very rare, according to the Mayo Clinic.

In addition to some side effects, there was a suspicion as to whether the infant vaccinations could impair children’s brain development. However, a new study conducted by University of Louisville shows that there was no evidence of neurodevelopment delays and autism caused by vaccines.