You want to do what is best for your children. You know about the importance of car seats, baby gates and other ways to keep them safe. Another way to protect your children is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations.
Immunizations can save a child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children have been eliminated completely, and others are close to extinction–primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. One example of the great impact that vaccines can have is the elimination of polio in the United States. Polio was once America’s most-feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the nation, but today there are no reports of polio in the United States.
Vaccination is safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness or tenderness at the site of injection, but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.
Immunization protects others. Children in the United States still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, there have been resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. In 2010, the United States had more than 21,000 cases of whooping cough reported and 26 deaths, most in children younger than 6 months. Unfortunately, some babies are too young to be completely vaccinated and some people may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.
Immunizations can save your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or daycare facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families. To find out more about the VFC program, visit http://www.CDC.gov/Vaccines/Programs/VFC/ or ask your child’s healthcare professional. The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) offers immunizations during walk-in hours at the Olathe (11875 S. Sunset Dr.) and Mission (6000 Lamar Ave.) clinics (http://JCDHE.jocogov.org/Health/Immunization).
Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have helped to reduce and, in some cases, eliminate many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots any more because the disease no longer exists. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus no longer are seen in the United States. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.
The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of KC Baby. As always, with any health concerns, please contact your physician.