The Hows and Whys of Baby Vaccines

There's so much scary stuff about vaccines on the Internet. How do I know what's true?

Consider the source before you believe a thing. Organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (aap.org) and CDC (cdc.gov) offer reliable scientific data. Be skeptical of information from parent groups, chat rooms, or alternative publications; and discuss any negative information you find with your pediatrician.

Although vaccination is about the safest medical procedure around, the CDC and the FDA are constantly monitoring the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, and manufacturers are always trying to improve them. There's also no reason to obsess about the "dangers" of vaccines.

For example, only one in a million children who receives the MMR vaccine develops serious complications like encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. On the other hand, if they contracted the measles, about one in 1,000 children would develop encephalitis and one in 3,000 would die from the disease. So it's clearly better to vaccinate.

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