No matter what your stance is on vaccines, the truth of the matter is this: vaccines are important in decreasing the most vaccine-preventable childhood diseases.
Dr. Darek Eggleston with the Ogden Clinic discusses the importance of vaccines and other common questions parents have about them.
Why are vaccinations important?
Vaccinations protect your child against serious diseases by stimulating the immune system to create antibodies against certain bacteria or viruses.
What diseases do vaccines protect against?
Immunizing your child with vaccines protects against serious diseases like measles, whooping cough, polio, meningococcal disease, tetanus, rotavirus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, influenza and more.
I don’t know anybody who has had these diseases. Why does my child need these vaccines?
While a few of these diseases have virtually disappeared because of vaccination, outbreaks of measles and whooping cough still occur in the U.S. Even if some diseases do completely disappear in the U.S., they are common in other parts of the world and are just a plane ride away. If we stop vaccinating against these diseases, many more people will become infected. Vaccinating your child will keep him or her safe.
Are there better ways to protect my child against these diseases?
No. Breastfeeding offers temporary immunity against some minor infections like colds, but it is not an effective means of protecting a child from the specific diseases prevented by vaccines. Likewise, vitamins won’t protect against the bacteria and viruses that cause these serious diseases. Chiropractic remedies, naturopathy, and homeopathy are totally ineffective in preventing vaccine-preventable diseases.
Some parents think that getting the “natural” disease is preferable to “artificial” vaccination, leading to a “natural” immunity. Some even arrange chicken pox “parties” to ensure their child gets infected. It’s true that for some diseases, getting infected will lead to immunity, but the price paid for natural disease can include paralysis, brain injury, liver cancer, deafness, blindness or even death. When you consider the seriousness of these risks, vaccination is definitely the better choice.
Are vaccines safe?
Vaccines are among the safest medical products available, and scientists are working to make sure they are made even safer. Every vaccine undergoes extensive testing before being licensed, and vaccine safety continues to be monitored as long as a vaccine is in use.
Some common side effects are a sore arm or fever. There is a very small risk that serious problems could occur after getting a vaccine.
What if my child has a cold or fever, or is taking antibiotics? Can he or she still get vaccinated?
Yes. Your child can still get vaccinated if he or she has a mild illness, a low-grade fever, or is taking antibiotics.
How many times do I need to bring my child in for vaccinations?
At least five visits are needed before age two, but the visits can be timed to coincide with well-child check-ups. Your child should get the first vaccine (hepatitis B) at birth, while still in the hospital. Multiple visits during the first two years are necessary because there are 14 diseases your child can be protected against, and most require two or more doses of vaccine for the best protection.
How do I know when to take my child in for vaccinations?
Your healthcare provider should let you know when the next doses are due. For infants, most vaccinations are given on a 2, 4 and 6-month schedule. If you are not sure, call your healthcare provider’s office to find out when your child should return for vaccinations. Doses cannot be given too close together or immunity doesn’t have time to build up. On the other hand, you don’t want to delay your child’s vaccinations and get behind schedule because during this time, your child remains unprotected against these serious diseases.
What if I miss an appointment? Does my child have to start the vaccines all over again?
No. If your child misses some doses, it’s not necessary to start over. Your provider will continue from where he or she left off.
In many medical practices, your child’s immunization record is entered into an electronic record-keeping system. It’s important that you keep home records too, so be sure to ask for a personal record card or a printed copy of your child’s vaccinations. If you don’t receive it, be sure to ask. Bring your copy of the record to all medical appointments. Whenever your child receives a vaccine, make sure your copy gets updated. Your child will benefit by having an accurate vaccination record throughout his or her life.
Why is it important that all children get vaccinated?
Unvaccinated children are capable of spreading the disease to other children, even those who have been vaccinated since no vaccine is 100 percent protective.
In the U.S., vaccinations have decreased most vaccine-preventable childhood diseases by more than 95 percent. Vaccines have minimized or eliminated outbreaks of certain diseases that were once lethal to large numbers of people, including measles and polio in the U.S and smallpox worldwide. But because the bacteria and viruses that cause diseases still exist, the public health gains achieved through vaccines can only be maintained by ensuring that vaccination rates remain high enough to prevent outbreaks.
Vaccines are effective not only because they protect individuals who have been vaccinated but also because they confer a broader protection for communities by establishing “herd immunity.” When a sufficiently high proportion of a population is vaccinated against infectious diseases, the entire population can obtain protection.
Herd immunity is critical for protecting the health of many groups of people who are especially vulnerable to communicable diseases: those who cannot be vaccinated, either because they are too young or because a medical condition makes vaccination too risky.
I thought vaccines were just for babies. Do adults really need to get vaccinated?
Vaccination is as important for adults as it is for children, and yet many adults are not optimally vaccinated. Adults need vaccines because vaccine immunity (protection) may have diminished over time and a person will need a booster shot to enhance protection. For some diseases like whooping cough, adults who are vaccinated prevent the spread of disease and in turn protect children. There are also new vaccines, such as the shingles vaccine, that protect against diseases/conditions that develop in adults.
Where can adults get vaccinated?
Ogden Clinic offers many common adult vaccines such as influenza, hepatitis A and B, and T-dap. If you need a vaccine that we don’t administer, check with Utah health department or a local hospital.
I’m an adult. How do I pay for vaccines?
Out-of-pocket immunization costs may vary depending on your insurance coverage. Ogden Clinic accepts most insurance plans including Medicare but check with your insurance for more information.
I’m traveling abroad. What vaccinations do I need?
Contact your doctor or your local health department as early as possible to find out which immunizations you may need. Vaccines against certain diseases, such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, yellow fever and typhoid fever are recommended for different countries. You can visit CDC’s Travelers’ Health Website for up-to-date information on immunization recommendations for international travelers.
– KSL.com Brandview – 10/04/2016