Vaccinations are one of the most effective and controversial measures in the health system. Some parents are insecure and fear that vaccination will harm their child. FOCUS Online shows the diseases and vaccinations with respective side effects and complications in comparison.
- Almost all parents in Germany have their children vaccinated – around 90 percent.
- Every year doctors in Germany administer around 40 million vaccine doses.
- Depending on their age, experts advise children to be vaccinated against certain diseases.
It is thanks to the vaccinations that diphtheria, polio and many other diseases hardly occur in this country. Paradoxically, the success of vaccinations is their greatest enemy: the fewer the sick, the less often the sometimes devastating complications of the disease are a topic of conversation.
Instead, the public perception is focused on the problems and side effects of the vaccinations . Some parents are insecure and afraid of harming their child rather than protecting it.
With high vaccination rates, diseases do not spread
The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) only recommends vaccinations against infectious diseases that can be severe and are often difficult or impossible to treat.
In addition, there are not only selfish reasons for vaccinating, but also the social benefit: If the vaccination rates are high, diseases can no longer spread. This also protects people who are not allowed to be vaccinated – such as children with severe heart damage.
The vaccinations recommended by Stiko are safe and well tolerated. Nevertheless, any vaccination can have side effects and cause complications, some of them very serious. Stiko only recommends vaccination if a complication from the actual disease is much more likely than a complication from the vaccination.
An example of this is the measles vaccination: a particularly serious complication is measles encephalitis. It leads to permanent brain damage or even death. About one in a million people who are vaccinated suffers from this catastrophic encephalitis. However, the risk for measles sufferers is much higher: it affects one to three in 1000 of them.