Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana) says the increasing number of vaccines is "a good intention gone too far" and cites 11,000 cases of children becoming sick after getting shots, including two of his grandchildren.
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Countering that argument is the chairman of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, Georges Peter, MD, who is also director of pediatric infectious diseases at Hasbro Children's Hospital. "Vaccines are well identified as the number one public health achievement of the 20th century," says Peter. "Because of vaccines, children no longer have to fear the crippling diseases of polio and meningitis, or the threat of brain damage from measles."
The figures back the facts: vaccines have saved millions of lives. Most shots provide lifelong protection against a host of diseases that were deadly just 100 years ago. In countries that do not promote vaccination, these diseases still take many lives.
Reactions to vaccines are usually mild, such as fever and fussiness for a few hours after an inoculation. Contracting a disease from a vaccine is extremely rare.
Free vaccines are available to all children; Hasbro Children's Hospital provides vaccines free of charge to eligible kids at its immunization clinic. The standards for immunization recently have changed; find out the latest recommendations.