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News & Events

Posted August 04, 2020

The Importance of Immunizations for Kids

WRITTEN BY
Jorge Miranda

Immunizations

Neighborhood Healthcare is dedicated to supporting parents in making the best choices for their children’s’ health and wellness. We believe the more information we can provide, the better decisions parents can make to protect their children, and our community as a whole, from deadly diseases.

One of our goals is to share the critical facts about immunizations for children. We are so fortunate to have this opportunity that many generations before us did not. Untold heartache, sickness, and death from a variety of deadly diseases can now be avoided through immunizations for children. Neighborhood’s team of doctors and nurses is always available to answer any questions parents may have about immunizations. We believe strongly that parents must have access to factual information to combat the growing threat of incorrect information on social media or from non-authoritative sources.

Why are vaccines so important?

Vaccines save lives and protect against long-term health consequences. They reduce disability and suffering, and contribute to longer life expectancies. It is estimated that childhood immunizations prevent 281 million illnesses and 855,000 child deaths every ten years in the United States alone.

How do vaccinations work?

Vaccines work by basically giving the body an example of what a dangerous intruder such as a bacteria or virus looks like, so that the body’s immune system can make protective antibodies in case of future exposure. The idea is similar to a poster with a criminal’s picture alerting the public to a potential danger in the area – but in this case, it allows the body’s defenses to pre-emptively create its own targeted strike force designed to respond at the first sign of the intruder (infection). Sometimes just one dose of a vaccine is enough to protect a person for life, but for certain diseases, more than one dose is required.

Because germs can spread quickly throughout a community and make a lot of people sick, it is important to have high levels of immunity against vaccine preventable diseases within communities. Even a single case of a disease in a susceptible community can lead to an outbreak, putting many of our loved ones – especially children, the elderly, and those with compromised health – at risk.

What diseases do vaccinations prevent?

There are eighteen deadly or dangerous diseases which are preventable by vaccine: these include major illnesses such as measles, chickenpox, whooping cough, tetanus, polio and even viruses such as HPV (human papilloma virus) which causes cervical cancer – the same cancer for which women have routine Pap smears. In the case of measles, which is not “just a rash and a fever”, it is estimated that measles killed approximately 2.6 million children each year before the vaccine was developed.

In fact, the 0.2% mortality rate of measles is even higher than that of influenza, and not far from some estimates of 0.5-1% for the current COVID-19 pandemic. Even today, more than 100,000 people worldwide die every year from measles.

What is chickenpox?

The chickenpox vaccine is one of the newest discoveries and is a great success story. Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that causes an itchy, blister-like rash. The rash appears first on the chest, back, and face, and then spreads over the entire body.

Chickenpox used to be very common in the United States and is not always a mild case. Apart from the well-known rash, it can cause damage to the lungs and brain as well. Each year, more than three million cases of chickenpox, 9,000 hospitalizations, and over one hundred deaths are prevented by chickenpox vaccinations in the United States alone.

The CDC recommends two doses of chickenpox vaccine for children, adolescents, and adults who have never had chickenpox and were never vaccinated. Children should receive the first dose at age twelve through fifteen months and the second dose at age four through six years.

Good news: chickenpox vaccine protects against shingles, too

Children who are vaccinated against the virus that causes chickenpox are getting a bonus. Not only are they protected against irritating and potentially scarring chickenpox, but they appear to have a dramatically lower risk of developing shingles in childhood than unvaccinated kids who contract the disease, according to a large, new multiyear study.

The rate of shingles cases in vaccinated children was 78% lower than it was among unvaccinated children who had contracted the virus, researchers reported.]

What is vaccine hesitancy and refusal?

Lately, a small number of parents are refusing some or all vaccines for themselves and their children, putting their children, families and communities at risk. This is called vaccine hesitancy and refusal, and these groups are going against all the conclusive evidence that vaccinations are safe and protect against dangerous diseases. This trend has grown due to gross misinformation spread on the internet and social media. Neighborhood Healthcare professionals believe strongly that we need to educate against this misinformation to save a new generation of children from danger.

It’s critical for parents and guardians to make sure their children are up to date on vaccines. The science is clear: vaccines work. Vaccine preventable diseases are dangerous and can be deadly.

Why are vaccines for all children?

Vaccines save lives and protect against serious long-term health consequences. Children who are unvaccinated may be unnecessarily exposed to dangerous or deadly preventable diseases,

and can also spread disease to others. When enough people in a population are vaccinated against an infectious disease, “community immunity” (also known as “herd immunity”) protects the entire population.

Herd immunity especially protects those who cannot get vaccinated due to health factors such as weakened immune systems, such as those on treatment for cancers. Because people can be exposed to diseases in a variety of ways, and because global travel continues to increase, it is only safe to stop vaccinating against a particular disease when it has been eradicated worldwide.

Vaccines are really one of the greatest successes in public health and modern medicine. In the United States, reported cases for most vaccine preventable diseases have decreased by over ninety percent since the introduction of vaccines.

Are vaccines safe and effective? (Spoiler: Yes!)

The facts are simple. Vaccines are safe, and they have been proven over many years to be highly effective, with studies not only in the US but also around the world. They are supported by every major American medical society and government agency and are a routine part of pediatric care at Neighborhood Healthcare.

Every recommended vaccine has been and continues to be studied extensively and carefully evaluated for undue reactions. While vaccines can have some potential side effects, they are generally very minor and short-lived, such as soreness at the injection site or a low-grade fever.

Is it expensive to get a child vaccinated?

Vaccinations should be covered by all health insurance plans without cost, and are also free or low cost through many assistance programs. Call us at 833-867-4642 if you have any questions about paying for vaccinations.

Neighborhood Healthcare cares about you and your child.

One of the easiest and very best ways Neighborhood Healthcare can protect the families and communities we serve is to provide vaccinations for all children. We are here to answer any questions parents may have about vaccinations or any other health issue. With our many convenient locations, we want our communities to get to know us and to feel confident they can rely on us for healthcare and more. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 833-867-4642 for an appointment, or login to www.nhcare.org for more information.

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