Our youngest Virginians are the most vulnerable when it comes to serious illnesses and diseases. Newborns receive some natural immunity from their mother, but it quickly fades. That is why it’s very important to protect the health of your young child by making sure they receive all their immunizations on time.
The good news is that immunizations work. Most of us have never seen polio, diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis) or other vaccine-preventable diseases thanks to the protection vaccines provide. Did you know that smallpox, a disfiguring and sometimes deadly disease, was erased in 1980? You won’t find polio in the United States, but it’s still a problem in some parts of the world. When a vaccine is introduced and widely used, often that disease quickly fades.
Recommended Immunization Schedule
The recommended immunization schedule has grown over the last several years, providing more protection against childhood diseases. Your young child is routinely immunized against 14 diseases.
Parents today are often concerned about the number of vaccines their young child receives. They see their baby receive several painful shots at the same visit but have no experience with the scary diseases the vaccines protect against. Stories in the media and misinformation add to the fear.
Many sound scientific studies have shown that vaccines are safe for most children. Even when given together, vaccines do not overwhelm the body. Your child’s immune system deals with many assaults every day from the environment and is designed to keep working to prevent illness. The agents in vaccines are in a weakened or killed form and may take several doses to provide immunity – your child’s protective response against the disease. Keep in mind that millions of children have received their recommended vaccines and are healthier for it.
Like any medication, vaccines do have some risks. Most are minor such as a sore arm or leg where the vaccine was given. An infant may be fussier than normal. Talk to your healthcare provider about immunizations and what is right for your child.
Your child is protected against:
- Pertussis (Whooping cough)
- Hepatitis B
- Varicella (Chicken pox)
- Haemophilus influenzae type b
- Hepatitis A
- Menningcoccal (high risk groups)