Infant vaccination: What you need to know

The current vaccination schedule recommends that, between ages two and five, you vaccinate against three primary childhood diseases: measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox. Between ages six and 18, you vaccinate against three other critical childhood diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. You also receive two or more of the vaccine’s remaining four recommended categories, i.e. tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (TDaP).

However, some think we should speed up our children’s vaccine schedule and move away from traditional schedules, based on the idea that we should include more varicella (chickenpox) and pneumococcal vaccines, and fewer vaccines for things like polio and measles. Health care professionals, however, don’t think this is a good idea.

Many parents believe the recommended schedule is too strict. The two most recent studies on the subject were done about three years ago and have yet to be published. So we can’t say for sure whether the schedules are working the way they should. However, we do know that our systems are past due for needed changes, and that our children are due for more screening and primary care. Why not more vaccines as well?

Vaccines, the best and worst things for you

Because of the great work being done by professionals, families, and friends, parents know now that keeping kids healthy and well is essential. Vaccination has become the foundation of our society’s safety standards. Our health providers know the risks of not giving enough vaccines, and, thanks to them, almost all children born in the early 2000s received at least one additional dose of vaccines, thanks to some of the previous vaccine advancements.

They can be difficult to come by, and when you do, they’re not cheap. Every adult should get at least one childhood vaccine, including at least one additional shot between ages 14 and 16. Of course, to get each one of these vaccines, you need to go to your doctor at least four times.

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While some parents are reluctant to vaccinate their children, other parents who don’t know or understand the benefit of vaccinations are often told they need to be vaccinated as a preventative measure. Some parents take immunizations less seriously. As a result, we have an epidemic of flu and other illnesses that are being transmitted by those who are not receiving appropriate vaccinations.

Everyone else gets the vaccines, right?

The concept of vaccinating everyone else—families, healthcare providers, the American Red Cross, public school classes, restaurants—is worth considering. For instance, studies show that, according to the World Health Organization, more than 400 million people worldwide become infected with communicable diseases each year; without vaccinations, over 1.8 million of those infections could lead to death. That’s a shockingly large number, one that includes many small children.

Studies also show that only about a third of people who become infected with these diseases are vaccinated; instead, vaccines are spreading to uninfected people and even us, as we all breathe in the microscopic germs that can cause these diseases. It’s also estimated that we all can throw off between 10 to 20 micro-organisms from food that contains these viruses and bacteria.

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Therefore, educating the public and educating us all about the world’s many, many threats is crucial if we’re to be safe. As Americans, we are fortunate to have informed doctors, healthcare providers, and everyday good people who provide excellent, timely, and proper healthcare to all of us. We need that resource now more than ever.

But our health providers can only do so much, if we don’t take our jobs and our knowledge of our society’s leading health problems very seriously. When it comes to some vaccines, children are far safer with extra doses than not.

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