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PERSPECTIVE

'Vaccines save lives, but all vaccines have side effects'

Vaccines have been credited with reducing some of the world's most deadly diseases. But while the market for vaccinations has tripled since the turn of the century, representing over $25 billion a year, and is expected to continue to rise rapidly, more and more people are starting to decide not to take them. The number of measles infections last year in the EU was three times what it was in 2016, notably because some people had decided not to get immunised.

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Dr Richard Halvorsen is the Medical Director of a children's immunisation clinic in London and author of "Vaccines: Making the Right Choice for Your Child". He gives us his perspective on the pros and cons of the inoculations. Dr Halvorsen says his main concern is the number of vaccines some people now take. "We are adding more and more vaccinations. Some diseases we vaccinate against are mild or almost impossible to contract. Let's be clear: vaccines can save lives, there is no question about that, but also all vaccines have side effects."

As with all medication, Dr Halvorsen says each patient is a unique case and one has to look at the benefits to taking it compared to the risk of infection. While side effects are rare, like with all medication they can occur. "We should be cautious when we add more and more vaccines for diseases that are less important," he told FRANCE 24. "I'm not saying we should not vaccinate," he added, "but we should have a debate about the benefits and risks."

>> On France24.com: Low vaccination rates at root of European measles epidemic

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