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Vaccine hesitancy


Vaccines are safe and effective, and serious disease can occur if your child and family are not immunized. It is important to start here when talking about vaccines. There is a multitude of information from a number of sources when it comes to vaccinations and much of this information leads to confusion in parents only wanting to do what is best for their children. Here are some facts about vaccination based on current clinical evidence.



  • Stimulate the immune system

  • Provide immunity to potentially serious or deadly infectious diseases

  • Are very effective – so effective, the diseases they prevent are now rare

  • Strengthen the immune system – important to infants (as they have naturally weaker immune systems)

  • Are very safe

  • Can be commonly associated with some mild reactions e.g. soreness, mild fever

  • Rarely lead to serious reactions e.g. anaphylaxis (severe life-threatening allergic reaction) 

  • Have their safety monitored by public health agencies


Risk of complications from getting a disease are much higher than immunization risk e.g. deafness, brain damage, and death.


There is no evidence they cause chronic disease.


There is rigorous regulation of vaccines...

  • Regulated by Health Canada; with

  • Rigorous testing prior to approval; with

  • Production that is supervised; and

  • Advantages to combining vaccines

    • Fewer painful needles

    • Maximize protection in shortest time possible

    • Do not overload the immune system


If immunization is stopped there will be re-emergence of minimized/eradicated infectious disease...

  • E.g. measles, pertussis, polio, H.Influenza

  • Unless disease is 100% gone, small outbreaks can turn into epidemics − Smallpox is the only eradicated disease

  • Some diseases cannot be eradicated – e.g. tetanus

  • Small pockets of disease can spread as people travel

  • Heard immunity doesn’t work for all diseases e.g. tetanus

  • Unvaccinated kids are still at much higher risk of becoming infected

  • There exists the entity of the asymptomatic carrier – they can infect other immunocompromised individuals: babies, elderly, chronically ill, or those on immunosuppressive treatments

  • The wait-and-see approach (to vaccinate if your child contracts the infection) may be too little too late because some need time and multiple doses to achieve immunization e.g. pertussis


Reasons why natural infection or healthy lifestyle are not good alternatives...

  • Vaccines provide effective immunity without the suffering of natural disease

  • Natural infection carries the risk of severe complications – deafness, disability, death

  • Boosting the immune system with herbs, vitamins does not provide specific or indeed enough protection

  • Naturopathic vaccinations as a complete alternative to rather than complimentary measure to medical vaccinations may put your child at serious risk of the disease if contracted

  • Breastfeeding does provide benefit for some diseases

  • Good hygiene alone is not sufficient for vaccine-preventable diseases based on Canadian data


Influence of Culture and the Media...

  • Vaccines are sometimes blamed for diseases that are poorly understood

  • Claims of associations with Autism, SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome), seizures, etc. have not stood up to vigorous scrutiny

    • The MMR vaccine does not cause Autism

    • The MMR vaccine does not cause Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    • The Hepatitis B vaccine does not cause Multiple Sclerosis

    • The Pertussis (Whooping cough) vaccine does not cause brain damage

    • Vaccines do not cause asthma

    • Vaccines do not cause SIDS


The Make-up of vaccines...

  • In vaccines the main ingredient is killed, weakened or part of the germ

  • There are tiny and safe amounts of additives

  • Sometimes vaccines are produced from animal cells

    • Neural tissue is never used

    • Purification steps remove animal cells

    • Theoretical risk of Mad Cow disease is 1:40Billion

  • Pain/discomfort or subsequent fussiness can be addressed with simple pain killers and comfort measures


It is important to note that... 

  • Vaccines are recommended by the Candian Pediatric Society - an advisory body for Pediatricians in Canada

  • Vaccines are endorsed by Pediatricians - specialists in the care of children

  • However, vaccines are not compulsory in Canada

  • Be aware that regulations do exist in most provinces

  • You may be required to declare non-immunization

  • As a necessity for public health, unimmunized children may be excluded from school/day care during outbreaks


So what is the viewpoint of Paramount Pediatrics?..

  • A full endorsement of childhood vaccination supported by a service which we will provide

  • A desire to work in partnership with parents to keep them well informed and acknowledge their fears, knowledge and understanding

  • A promise to offer a chance for discussion and review of concerns

  • An offer to review information gathered by parents (may require a further appointment to allow time for review)

  • An offer to support a parental decision once the facts have been discussed and the risks are understood

  • A promise that your choice does not dismiss your child from our Medical practice

  • An offer to provide an opportunity to vaccinate at a later time if a parent changes their mind in the future (understanding at that time the child may have already contracted the disease)

  • We do not offer Naturopathic vaccination 



References - Vaccination and your child

Your Childs best Shot – Canadian Pediatric Society book



Here are some helpful website links on this common topic:


World Health Organisation. Canada: WHO and UNICEF estimates of immunization coverage: 2011 revision (data as of March 13, 2013). 


Canada's eight-step vaccine safety program: Vaccine literacy. 


Autistic spectrum disorder: No causal relationship with vaccines. 


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