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Do children need all their vaccinations, yay or nay?

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Do children need all their vaccinations? This has been a controversy for years. This weekend, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a front page article entitled “More parents rebuff vitamin K shot at birth.” This inoculation has been recommended for the past 50 years. Its purpose? To prevent life-threatening bleeding, which is a problem recently on the rise. The vitamin is necessary for normal blood clotting, which most babies are low in at birth.

Why would parents opt out of a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? Some parents are fearful that injections cause an increased risk of illness as well as exposure to certain “toxins.” Twenty years ago, there was a study correlating vitamin K and childhood leukemia. There have likewise been scares about childhood vaccinations increasing the risk of autism. Since there is much not known about some of the illnesses common to children, many adults feel it is just safer to skip the shot and revert any concern it may cause. While this sometimes works, it often backfires, as the consequences of NOT giving the inoculation to the child can be more severe than getting it. Moreover, the findings that showed possible connection between shots and disease have been disproven by more recent studies.

Some parents, rather than agreeing to the vaccination, are giving supplements or oral doses to their children instead. Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Likewise, the oral dose(s) have been found to be less successful. In the CDC’s random sample study this year, 3 1/2% of newborns discharged from hospitals had refused the vitamin K injection, compared to 28% of those born at birthing centers had refused. This appears to be the trend in St. Louis, as well, where 23% of recent births refused the vaccination and 14% opted for the oral dose.

How do you feel about it? What has been your experience?



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