What are the Reasons to Vaccinate My Baby?
Raising a child comes with many decisions. Some are a matter of taste, like what color to paint the nursery. Others are essential, especially when it comes to safety, like baby proofing your home for potential hazards. But, what about the hazards that you can't see and that can cause serious illness, disability or even death in young children? Immunization gives you the power to protect your baby from 14 serious childhood diseases.
There are many reasons to vaccinate.
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Visit this vaccine site for parents, designed with the help of parents.
Serious Diseases Are Still Out There
Reducing and eliminating the diseases that vaccines prevent is one of the top achievements in the history of public health. But, because of this success, most young parents have never seen the devastating effects that diseases like polio, measles or whooping cough (pertussis) can have on a family or community. It's easy to think of these as diseases of the past. But the truth is they still exist. Children in the United States can—and do—still get some of these diseases. In fact, when vaccination rates drop in a community, it's not uncommon to have an outbreak.
For example, in 2010 alone, 27,550 cases of whooping cough (pertussis) were reported in the US. Of those reported cases, there were 27 deaths, most in children younger than 1 year old. Learn about recent outbreaks of pertussis in the US.
Diseases Don't Stop at the Border, and Many Can Spread Easily
You may have never seen a case of polio or diphtheria, but they still occur in other countries. All it takes is a plane ride for these diseases to arrive in your community.
Learn about the 14 Diseases Vaccines Can Prevent
Vaccines are the Safe, Proven Choice
The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history. Before a vaccine is approved and given to children, it is tested extensively. Scientists and medical professionals carefully evaluate all the available information about the vaccine to determine its safety and effectiveness. As new information and science become available, vaccine recommendations are updated.
Although there may be some discomfort or tenderness at the injection site, this is minor compared to the serious complications that can result from the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects from vaccines are very rare.
Nearly all children can be safely vaccinated. There are some exceptions including children with allergies to something in a vaccine. Children with weakened immune systems due to an illness or a medical treatment, such as chemotherapy, also may not be able to safely receive some vaccines.
Children Need Protection Early
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sets the U.S. childhood immunization schedule based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)—a group of medical and public health experts. This schedule also is approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). The recommended childhood immunization schedule is designed to protect infants and children early in life, when they are most vulnerable.
To be fully immunized, children need all doses of the vaccines according to the recommended schedule. Not receiving the full number of doses leaves a child vulnerable to catching serious diseases. Check with your child's doctor to find out if your baby is due for any vaccinations. Or, you can use this online tool to enter your child's current record and quickly see if any doses have been skipped or missed. It is important to your child's health to be up-to-date on immunizations.
Vaccines Mean Fewer Missed Work Days and School Days
A child who gets a vaccine-preventable disease may have to miss school or day care for many days or weeks. Time lost from work to care for a sick child can cause a financial burden for the family. These diseases can also cause lasting disabilities that result in expensive medical bills and long-term care.
Need Help Paying For Immunization?
If you don't have health insurance or if your insurance doesn't cover vaccinations, the Vaccines For Children (VFC) program may be able to help with the cost. VFC helps families of eligible children who do not otherwise have access to immunization. The program provides vaccinations at no cost. Children younger than 19 years of age are eligible for VFC vaccines if they are:
Vaccination Protects Your Family, Friends, and Community
Getting your child vaccinated helps protect others in your community—like your neighbor who has cancer and cannot get certain vaccines, or your best friend's newborn baby who is too young to be fully vaccinated. When everyone in a community who can get vaccinated does get vaccinated, it helps to prevent the spread of disease and can slow or stop an outbreak. Choosing to protect your child with vaccines is also a choice to help protect your family, friends, and neighbors, too.
Immunization Helps Give You the Power to Protect Your Baby
For more reasons to vaccinate, talk with your child's doctor, call 800-CDC-INFO, or visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/.
CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats to have a more secure nation. A US federal agency, CDC helps make the healthy choice the easy choice by putting science and prevention into action. CDC works to help people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
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