Q: I am so confused and worried about giving my child the MMR vaccine - is it really safe or can it cause autism? Perhaps I should choose not to vaccinate at all?
A: Giving your child a vaccine is a vitally important decision. While modern vaccines are both effective and safe, for some parents agreeing to a vaccination can be a difficult decision. No one can blame you for worrying about the negative reports that have surrounded the MMR vaccination and the claims that it may cause autism in some children.
Despite these reports, the medical facts paint a very different and much more positive picture about the safety of MMR. Various studies into the vaccine have concluded that there is no link between MMR and autism. Its safety is such that the World Health Organization continues to support the use of MMR. Additionally, the vaccine is in use all over the world, with doses exceeding 500 million.
However, if you remain uncomfortable with the MMR vaccine, the alternative is to opt for single vaccinations. However, these can only be given privately and there is a cost per injection, which can be quite high.
Ultimately, it is crucial that your baby is immunised against measles, mumps and rubella, whichever option you decide to go for. If you decide not to immunise, this will leave your child at risk from contracting any of these diseases. Additionally, it is a known fact that the complications arising from measles can be severe, and can include brain damage and fits. 1 in 15 children will develop complications from measles and sadly, in some cases, measles can kill.
Before you make your decision, please consider all of the facts very carefully and keep in mind that the benefits of this vaccine far outweigh the reported risks that you are worried about. Thankfully there is a lot information available about the safety of MMR, and your health visitor or GP will be able to give your more information about these findings and offer you some peace of mind.
Did you worry about the MMR, or do you believe it is safe? Did you opt for single vaccinations or none at all? Leave a comment below...