Controversially discussed indications for immunization

  • Sieghart Dittmann
Part of the Birkhäuser Advances in Infectious Diseases book series (BAID)


The indication for immunization in general or indications for selected vaccines are sometimes controversially discussed by parents, the media and even by some parts of the medical community. This controversial discussion can cause confusion for people who want to make decisions about immunization for their children or themselves. There is clearly a need for accurate and evidence-based information about indications and effectiveness of vaccines, as well as about the risks from natural diseases compared with potential risks of adverse events following immunization. This chapter deals with (i) immunization as a safe and very effective disease prevention measure, (ii) indications for immunization of selected risk groups, and (iii) contraindications and false contraindications. The first part raises the most controversial questions (many diseases already disappeared due to improved socioeconomic conditions before vaccines were introduced; when a disease is gone there is no need to continue with immunization; natural immunity is better than vaccine-induced immunity; many vaccines are useless and not able to prevent disease; multiple immunizations overload the immune system; some vaccines are not safe and cause more complications than the natural disease) and tries to provide evidence-based answers. The second part deals with controversially discussed indications/contraindications for selected risk groups such as pregnant and breast-feeding women, pre-term babies, individuals with chronic diseases or immunodeficiency, patients with bleeding disorders and patients receiving anticoagulant medication. In the last part, genuine contraindications against distinct vaccines are discussed as well as health conditions falsely believed by the physician or the health worker to constitute a contraindication.


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Case Fatality Rate Pertussis Vaccine Measle Vaccine Oral Poliovirus Vaccine 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sieghart Dittmann
    • 1
  1. 1.BerlinGermany

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