Sitting through your baby's immunization-induced meltdown can be as painful for you as it is for her. That is, if the nagging worry that these routine shots could do more harm than good doesn't get to you first. No wonder a recent study from the University of Michigan found that 93 percent of pediatricians had at least one parent who refused a vaccination for their child during the past year.
Why are vaccines under fire? Some experts say it's due to their success. "It's the natural evolution of a vaccine program," says Paul Offit, M.D., chief of infectious diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "As you eliminate the diseases, people are not as compelled to get vaccines." Adds Kathryn Edwards, M.D., spokesperson for the National Network for Immunization Information, "Many diseases are out of sight and then out of mind. So people don't see the value of vaccines."
Yet high immunization rates are necessary to keep diseases like measles and even polio from making a dangerous comeback. Here are ten myths about vaccines -- and the truth behind them.
Babytalk contributing editor Beth Howard is a freelance writer and mother from North Carolina.