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FAQ: Children's Vaccines

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Does the immunity from vaccines eventually wear off?

For some it does. That is why "booster immunizations" are now being given at various times.

There is a lot of active research on the waning of immunity over time, so it is likely there will be even more booster shots added to the schedule in the future.

What are the risks of not vaccinating my child?

There is no question: the risks of not vaccinating a child vastly outweigh any potentially serious long-term side effects. Let's do the math for a few illnesses:

  • If your child were to contract measles, the odds of dying would be 1 in 500, getting pneumonia 6 in 100, and getting encephalitis 1 in 1,000.
  • If your child were to contract diphtheria, the odds of dying are 1 in 20.
  • If your child were to contract tetanus, the odds of dying are 1 in 5.
  • If your child were to contract whooping cough (pertussis), the odds of dying are 1 in 100, getting pneumonia 1 in 5, and getting encephalitis 1 in 300.
  • If infants less than 1 year of age get pertussis, half can have apneic episodes (they will stop breathing).

Yes, many of these diseases are now rare (thanks to immunizations) but they can still make a comeback, as happened with measles in England when, because of the autism scare, many parents chose not to immunize their children.

The risk/benefit ratio of immunizations is undeniable. Immunize your kids with pride. One of the greatest gifts you can provide your children is a full set of vaccinations and a healthy future.

How can I best keep track of my child's shots?

Have a specific medical book for each child. Be sure to note each immunization when it is given, along with any side effects that may have occurred.

Many states now require medical providers to report children’s vaccine records to central registries, such as in New York and Massachusetts. These programs serve as excellent resources for providers, schools, and parents. A copy may be obtained for your references depending on the state.

Remember that the schools will require such information, and sometimes pediatric offices misplace records or forget to document an immunization. In that case, your records may be all that can prove complete immunizations.

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