August is National Immunization Awareness Month, so what better time to share helpful info for you and your families.
Vaccinations play a vital role in determining the future health of your child. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) summarizes three top reasons:
- Vaccination is a great way to keep the whole family healthy. Extensive research shows it is highly effective.
- Catching life-threatening diseases before children become exposed is the important part. That’s why on-time vaccination as the child is growing is imperative to their health in the future.
- Vaccines are safe. Years of intensive research confirm vaccinations are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages.
Babies and very small children are especially susceptible to diseases, which makes vaccinating one of the most important items on the checklist in early life. According to the American Public Health Association, the United States is successful in reducing many infectious diseases, but outbreaks still happen.
Even before pregnancy, vaccines are a vital part of keeping kids healthy and safe. Not sure where to start? Check out the CDC’s Childhood Immunization Schedule for a complete list of recommended vaccines for every age. Important stages of immunization are:
- Before & During Pregnancy
- Infants & Toddler Years: Birth to Age 2
- Preschool & Elementary Kids: Ages 3 Through 10
- Preteen & Teen years: Ages 11 Through 18
- Into Adulthood
Vaccinating as an Adult
Adults need a flu vaccine every year, among others. Depending on age, existing health conditions, job, and travel habits, other vaccines may be needed. Check out this handy quiz to see what vaccines are recommend for you.
Vaccines are Safe
Some parents have concerns about having their children vaccinated. Medical professionals urge any parent who may be leaning away from vaccinating to reconsider.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) explains, “Vaccines are overwhelmingly safer than the diseases they prevent.” Years of research and testing are conducted before any vaccine is available for public use. A popular theory suggests vaccines cause autism among children. “There is no evidence to support this. Scientific studies have found no relationship between vaccines and autism,” states APHA.
For several years, vaccines are tested in clinical trials involving thousands of volunteers. Results are monitored to answer important questions including:
- Is the vaccine safe?
- What dose works best?
- How does the immune system react to it?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, even after the vaccine is licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and approved for public use, it continues to be tested to ensure it remains potent, pure, and sterile.
Helpful Vaccine Info
- Parents are responsible for providing schools with vaccination records, so be sure to ask for a copy at checkout.
- Make sure you are up to date on vaccinations, including the annual flu shot. Some vaccines require a booster later in life to maintain immunity.
- If you are having trouble affording vaccines for you or your child, contact your local health department to see what programs may exist to help finance these.
Vaccines play a vital role in helping children grow up strong and healthy. Contact your health care provider to make sure both you and your child are up to date.