As a parent, you may not like seeing your baby or child being given an injection. However, vaccination will help protect them against a range of serious and potentially fatal diseases.
There are 3 good reasons to have your child vaccinated:
- vaccinations are quick, safe and extremely effective once your child has been
- vaccinated against a disease, their body can fight it off better if a child isn’t
- vaccinated, they’re at higher risk of catching – and becoming very ill from – the illness
There will always be some children who are unavoidably unprotected because:
- they can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons
- they’re too young to be vaccinated
- they can’t get to the vaccine clinics
- the vaccine doesn’t work (although this is rare)
However, if more parents have their children vaccinated, then more children in the community will be protected against an illness.
Benefits and risks of vaccination
All medicines have side effects. However, vaccines are among the safest and the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the risk of side effects.
When you’re considering a vaccination for yourself or your child, it’s natural to focus on the potential side effects. But a better approach is to try to balance the benefits of having a vaccine against the chances of harm.
What are the side effects of vaccination?
Most side effects from vaccination are mild and short-lived.
Common side effects
It’s quite common to have redness or swelling around the injection site, but this soon goes away.
Younger children or babies may be a bit irritable or unwell, or have a slight temperature. Again, this usually goes away within 1 or 2 days.
The benefits of vaccination
Vaccination is different from giving medicine to an unwell child to make them better. The benefits of vaccination are invisible. The idea is that your child won’t become ill with measles or end up in intensive care with meningitis.
It may be tempting to say “no” to vaccination and “leave it to nature”. However, deciding not to vaccinate your child puts them at risk of catching a range of potentially serious, even fatal, diseases.
In reality, having a vaccination is much safer than not having one. They’re not 100% effective in every child, but they’re the best defense against the epidemics that used to kill or permanently disable millions of children and adults.
Please see www.nhs.uk for further advice