The Importance of Childhood Vaccines
Over the last year our world has been consumed with ways in which we can keep ourselves and our families safe. Between masking, hand washing and social distancing, it seems like we are doing everything possible to keep our children healthy. But let’s not forget one of the most important things: vaccinations.
Vaccinating children with all of their immunizations, according to the recommended schedule, is one of the safest and most effective ways to prevent infection. Today’s vaccine schedule helps to protect your children against 14 different illnesses by kindergarten and 16 illnesses by age 18.
Some may think: “My children are healthy. They can fight it off if they get one of these illnesses. So why vaccinate them?”
While vaccinations may be uncomfortable in the moment, it beats the symptoms that may come with illness. Even if symptoms are mild, they tend to be lengthier and more severe than possible side effects that may come from vaccination. Side effects may include fever, soreness, or redness at the injection site. However, many of these illnesses have the potential to cause life-altering changes or even death.
Moreover, vaccination does not just protect your child, but protects the entire community. When enough people have been vaccinated against an illness, it becomes less prevalent in a community and much harder for even those who have not been vaccinated to get the disease. This is why vaccinating pregnant women from whooping cough helps save the lives of babies too young yet to get vaccinated. Or why vaccinating children from pneumonia can help protect their immunocompromised grandparents going through chemotherapy.
We understand that there is a lot of confusion and misunderstandings about vaccines.
One common concern is that vaccinations can cause autism. This is a common misconception that has been proved incorrect over multiple scientific studies. There has been no evidence that there is any increased risk of autism with administration of any vaccines.
Another misconception is that the vaccine schedule requires too many vaccines at once and will ‘overload’ infants’ immune systems. The schedule has been set up by infectious disease experts in order to provide the highest level of protection at the most vulnerable ages. Further, the amount of exposure children get from vaccination is just a tiny fraction of what their immune system encounters from the world around them each day. Alternative vaccine schedules just delay protection for longer periods of time. It is best to get all vaccines at the recommended times.
If you have questions about immunizations, speak with your child’s pediatrician. He or she can answer any questions you have as far as schedule of vaccines, possible side effects and recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control.
So, if your child is due for the next round of shots or needs to get caught up, come on in to see us. Don’t worry - we have answers (and stickers) waiting.
Today’s vaccine schedule helps to protect your children against 14 different illnesses by kindergarten and 16 illnesses by age 18.