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Why should I have my child vaccinated?

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If you’re a new parent or caregiver, you are most likely familiar with immunizations and childhood vaccines. Immunizations help protect children (and adults) from serious diseases and also help prevent spreading those diseases to other people. Modern medicine has created immunizations that have helped prevent epidemics of once common infectious diseases like measles, mumps, and whooping cough as well as ending others such as polio or smallpox.

Proof of immunizations are often required for enrollment in school or child care (commonly referred to as daycare), therefore it’s important to keep children up to date on their vaccines. These vaccines will help protect your children from diseases that could cause serious health problems and most of the recommended childhood vaccinations are 90%-100% effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Some other facts to know about vaccinations include the following:

1. Vaccinations are very safe and effective.

Vaccines are only given to children after they have been carefully reviewed by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines may cause some temporary and minor discomfort and pain, redness and/or tenderness at the site of the injection. However, serious side effects such as allergic reactions are very rare.

2. Immunizations protect children, adults and others in your life.

Despite modern medical advances, children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, there has been a rise of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. This is because some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination and others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. But to help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.

3. Immunizations may help save you and your family time and money.

A child with a vaccine preventable disease can be denied entry to attend a school or child care facility. This can cause financial pressure to find alternative child care in addition to medical costs. Also, vaccine-preventable diseases can result in disabilities and can cause financial burdens because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term care. However, vaccinations can help prevent these types of medical challenges and are usually covered by insurance. For those without insurance or who need assistance in paying for vaccinations, the Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families. To find out more about the VFC program, visit the CDC's Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) or ask your child’s health care professional.

4. Immunizations protect our future generations.

In the last 100 years, we have seen vaccines that have reduced or eliminated many diseases like smallpox that killed or disabled people in the past. To put that in perspective, children today don’t have to get smallpox shots because the disease no longer exists. As we continue vaccinating against certain diseases, parents and children in the future may not have to worry about certain diseases ever being a threat to their health.

Resources

To learn the recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule for children ages 18 years or younger, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html.

To learn more about the effectiveness of vaccinations, visit https://www.who.int/news-room/facts-in-pictures/detail/immunization.


By ABC Quality Team on June 8, 2021