Baby Steps: Deciding on immunizations - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Baby Steps: Deciding on immunizations


by Pam Warnke

WESTON (WAOW) -- As soon as a baby comes into the world, decisions about vaccinations come in play for parents.

25 years ago, there were 7 standard vaccines: DTP, MMR and Polio.

If you had those vaccines, you were set.

Today, there are a lot more beginning with 7 options in the early stages of life and more as the child grows.

Dr. Jeffrey Lamont, a pediatrician at St. Clare's Hospital says, "The important thing to keep in mind is that every vaccine, every single vaccine is important."

In his decades as a pediatrician, Dr. Lamont has dealt with the cycle of vaccines.

He says they help keep potential epidemics at bay, which is why they are so crucial.

"Every disease that is addressed by a vaccine is a bad disease either because it makes you so terribly sick initially, or because it has long term consequences."

The resurgence of measles in Milwaukee this spring is a reinforcement of the calamity controlled by vaccines.

But there are those who feel vaccines may do more harm then good.

Dr. Lamont says 20 years ago there were concerns the vaccine for whooping cough caused poor neurological outcomes in children, but that was never proven.

And today, some parents fear MMR may lead to autism.

But he says the reasons these associations occur is more coincidence than anything else.

"Autism is a communicative disorder and so it's about the time when the child is 15-18 months to 2 years that serious problems with communcation can be identified or become obvious."

It's also at that time the MMR vaccination is given.

But, even with that knowledge, some parents still have fear about injecting their child.

Fear Dr. Lamont says should be discussed openly with your pediatrician.

"It's always appropriate for families to feel comfortable with what they're doing for their families and children."

He adds that concerned parents should feel some relief knowing that vaccines are rigorously tested before being used by doctors.

"The risks and benefits are extremely well known because of extensive research before the vaccine goes out, and careful monitoring after the vaccine has been in use."

The idea behind vaccinations is to expose a person's immune system to a disease in a safe way.

That way they can build up the antibodies needed to fight that disease should they every be exposed.

Prior to vaccines, the only what to do that was to be exposed to the disease itself and suffer the consequences.

Online Reporter: Pam Warnke

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