Immunizations, also known as vaccinations, are important for your child to receive starting from birth. When newborn babies are in their mother’s womb, they are protected because the mother passes protective antibodies to their babies through the placenta. The protection is short-lived though, which is where vaccinations come into play. Vaccines protect the immune system and make it stronger by administering small doses of killed or weakened strains of microorganisms that cause specific diseases. In doing this, the immune system fights the “infection” and will do so in the future if your child comes in contact with the same microorganisms. It’s important to stay up-to-date on your child’s vaccinations to ensure he or she stays healthy and protected. Unfortunately nowadays, as children get older, it is being found more and more that they are not receiving required vaccinations as they should be. Robert Frenck, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases explains, “It's been well documented that as kids get older, doctor visits drop off - meaning that as long as they're healthy, children may go long periods of time without seeing their pediatrician. Many school districts don't require annual physicals or updated immunization records. And if a child isn't seeing her doctor, she's clearly not getting vaccinated.” Fifteen or so years ago, schools required children to be up-to-date on all their immunizations. It is the parents’ responsibility to make sure their children are current in their vaccines and immunizations.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children receive a combination of vaccines rather than single vaccines to minimize the amount of shots that need to be given at a time. Below are a list of the most common vaccinations given to babies and children:
- Chickenpox vaccine
- Hepatitis A vaccine (HAV)
- Hepatitis B vaccine (HBV)
- Diphtheria, Tetanus, & Pertussis vaccine(DTaP)
- Hib vaccine
- HPV vaccine
- Influenza vaccine
- Measles, Mumps, & Rubella vaccine (MMR)
- Pneumococcal Vaccines
- Polio vaccine
- Rotavirus vaccine
It’s important that babies and children receive all recommended doses of specific vaccinations for them to fully take affect to protect their immune systems. Vaccinations protect your child’s health and the health of those they come in contact with. Frenck shared that smallpox is the only disease that isn’t prevalent in our current day. He said, “With the exception of smallpox, they’re [all diseases] all out there and can rage back at any time if we don’t keep immunizing.” Make sure you speak with your child’s pediatrician about all immunization options.