Most vaccinations occur during childhood so the decision whether or not to vaccinate falls to the parents. This is often a difficult decision. Many people understand that vaccinations prevent children from catching diseases like measles, mumps and rubella which can be fatal. However, a vaccination is a dead or altered form of the disease. So, there is a very small chance of the vaccinated child reacting to the vaccination. In almost all circumstances this is rela,tively safe giving only mild symptoms of fever and swelling at injection sites, but rarely severe allergic reactions can occur.
It is important that science helps parents in making this decision. The role of the media is also very important here. In 1998, a controversial research paper was published by Dr Andrew Wakefield. It made a link between the giving of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine with developing autism. It has since been completely discredited by the scientific community. However, some parents are still concerned about vaccinations in general and the MMR vaccine in particular.
Parents have to consider a number of things when deciding whether or not to vaccinate:
Scientific evidence states that vaccinations are positive for many children. However, science can only provide a statistically based 'balance of probability' not a definitive answer.