Question: Why are vaccines and immunizations so important?
Answer: Parents are constantly worried about their child’s health and safety and take the necessary steps needed to protect them. The utilization of child proof caps, safety latches, car seats and other devices are widely utilized to protect our children.
Vaccines can be seen as another mechanism for protecting children. Vaccines help prepare their bodies to fight serious and deadly diseases.
Babies are immune to many diseases because they have antibodies they got from their mothers. These antibodies help fight off invading bacteria and viruses. This immunity lasts only a month to about a year. In addition, young children do not have maternal immunity against some vaccine-preventable diseases, like whooping cough.
If a child is not vaccinated and is exposed to a disease germ, the child’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Vaccine antigens help the child’s system to produce antibodies against the disease. Through vaccination, children develop the immunity needed to safeguard them without suffering from the actual diseases that vaccines prevent.
Another benefit to immunizing children is that it helps protect those in our community who are not, or cannot be, immunized. People who are not immunized may include those too young or who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
There are specific recommendations for immunization schedules for ages and diseases. Examples of vaccines include, but are not limited to: chickenpox, measles, mumps, and polio. You should consult with your child’s physician to determine the vaccine schedule appropriate for your child.
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This post originally appeared on our September/October 2011 Magazine