Did you know this week is National Infant Immunization Week? There’s a week dedicated to that because it is important to vaccinate your baby!
Not convinced? Ask yourself these three questions:
- Do you want to protect your baby from 14 preventable yet serious childhood diseases, such as whooping cough, polio, and the measles?
- Do you want to be able to put your child in daycare and send them to school when the time comes?
- Do you want to protect your family from serious illness and the spread of preventable sicknesses?
If you answered YES to any of the above questions, then congratulations! That means you’ll probably want to have your little bundle of joy vaccinated.
Not fully convinced yet? All right, let’s break out some facts:
- Polio was once the United States’ most-feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country. Today, thanks to vaccination, there are almost no reports of polio in the United States.
- In the 1950s, nearly every child developed measles and, unfortunately, some even died from this serious disease. Because of vaccinations, it was predicted that few physicians just out of medical school would ever see a case of measles during their careers, beginning in 2010. However …
- One example of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases is an increase in measles cases or outbreaks that were reported in 2013. Data from 2013 showed a higher than normal number of measles cases nationally and in individual states, including an outbreak of 58 cases in New York City that was the largest reported outbreak of measles in the U.S. since 1996.
- Over the past few years, measles and whooping cough cases have also increased. In 2010, the United States had more than 21,000 cases of whooping cough and 26 deaths.
- The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history. Whereas polio and diphtheria are still prevalent in other countries, you may have noticed the majority of our population never has to worry about those diseases. However, diseases can cross borders. A plane ride may be all it takes to re-introduce these diseases to communities that don’t keep up on vaccinations.
- The recommended childhood immunization schedule is designed to specifically protect infants and children when they’re most vulnerable. The schedule has been reviewed and approved by: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Those are some prestigious, knowledgeable groups.
- While 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 or other reasons, they have a higher chance of contracting these preventable diseases when other families in the community don’t vaccinate their children.
- Through immunization, infants and children are protected from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age 2.
- Routine childhood immunization prevents about 20 million cases of disease and about 42,000 deaths. It also saves about $13.5 billion in medical and health care costs.
In other instances, vaccines have reduced and even eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people not too long ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots anymore 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, more diseases of today will no longer be around to harm children in the future. Give some serious thought to vaccinating your children. Talk to your child’s pediatrician and check out the resources below for more information.
What are the Reasons to Vaccinate My Baby?, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child, Vaccines.gov
Types of Vaccinations-Vaccines.gov
Resources for Understanding Vaccines and Vaccine Safety, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention