As part of National Immunization Month, Summit Medical Group is providing information and resources about the importance of vaccinations at every age level and stage of life. This week, as schools across the country begin to reopen (or reconnect online), we are focusing on vaccinations for children.
As children, we begin getting vaccinations at birth. Many of them take multiple visits to the doctor and are often aligned with monthly checkups. If you're a parent of an older child, you probably remember those monthly checkups, and the rounds of vaccinations that your precious little one received each time. Some of those visits were hard on us! But despite the temporary discomfort that accompany the vaccination process, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
As parents, it is vital that we understand vaccinations - what they are, how they work, and why the responsibility is ours to protect our children.
You have the power to protect your children against vaccine-preventable diseases
You have the power to protect your children against serious diseases like measles, cancers caused by HPV, and whooping cough. Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect against serious diseases: meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and bloodstream infections; HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV; Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough; and a yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu.
The CDC provides a parent-friendly immunization schedule so you can see which vaccines your children need, whether they are babies or teenagers.
Vaccines are safe and effective at preventing serious diseases.
Vaccines work with your child's natural defenses to help them safely develop protection from diseases. Vaccines are tested to ensure they are safe and effective. They are also monitored after they are in use. Click the link to learn more about the U.S. vaccine safety monitoring system. Like all medical products, vaccines can sometimes cause side effects. Still, the most common side effects are mild and go away quickly.
Vaccine-preventable diseases are still a threat. Vaccination is the best protection.
Some vaccine-preventable diseases, like chickenpox and pertussis (whooping cough), remain common in the United States. Since 2010, the CDC sees between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States. Most of the deaths each year from whooping cough are in young babies.
Some diseases are no longer common in this country because of vaccination. However, if we stopped vaccinating, the few cases we have in the United States could very quickly become tens or hundreds of thousands of cases. The 2019 measles outbreaks are a key reminder of how quickly diseases can spread when children aren't vaccinated.
Some infections that are prevented by preteen vaccines, like HPV, can lead to serious health problems later in life. More than 34,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with cancers caused by HPV each year.
Work with your doctor or nurse to stay up to date on recommended vaccines.
Talk to your child's doctor or nurse about whether you have missed any routine vaccines. An immunization schedule is designed to provide immunity early in life, before children are likely to be exposed to serious, potentially life-threatening diseases. Some vaccines require more than one dose to provide your child with the best protection, but each recommended dose is important.
Below are several downloadable resources that provide information about vaccination schedules. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your provider's office.